The High Court Wednesday asked the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Kashmir to inform it by Thursday as to what necessitated the issuance of a circular for re-registration of vehicles brought to J&K from outside.
The court said there was no bar for transport authorities to screen the vehicles with non-local registration mark for checking their "document veracity and the bona fide entry" into the territorial limits of J&K.
A division bench of justices Ali Muhammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul while hearing two writ petitions challenging the circular asked the RTO Kashmir to file an affidavit indicating as to what necessitated the issuance of the circular.
The circular issued by the RTO Kashmir on March 27 makes mandatory the re-registration of the vehicles purchased from outside J&K in keeping with the Motor Vehicle Act and Central Motor Vehicle Rules within 15 days.
The RTO Kashmir who was today present through virtual mode informed the court that the decision to notify the circular was taken at a meeting convened by the Secretary Transport department for ensuring screening of the vehicles bearing non-local registration.
The court said that when the RTO Kashmir was asked whether any exercise was undertaken to meet the requirements of sections 46, 47 and 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act, he submitted that he had no records to that effect.
"Since the officer was not in a position to satisfactorily demonstrate the origin of the impugned circular and his authority to issue it, the court feels it appropriate to ask the officer present to file his affidavit before the court by tomorrow indicating therein as to what necessitated the issuance of impugned circular, and remain present in person along with records," the court ordered.
Meanwhile, the court asked the Secretary Transport department to also remain present through virtual mode on April 22.
However, the court said that the pendency of the petitions should not form any impediment for the transport authorities to screen the vehicles with non-local registration mark for checking their veracity vis-à-vis the documents and the bona fide entry of such vehicles into the territorial limits of J&K. "However, such exercise should be undertaken by the officials of the Transport department only," the court said.