Relief for non-J&K purchased vehicle owners as High Court quashes RTO Kashmir’s re-registration circular

Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday quashed the RTO Kashmir’s circular mandating re-registration of vehicles purchased outside Jammu and Kashmir.  

The circular dated March 27 this year had caused chaos and anguish among motorists after J&K Police cracked down on such vehicles without any notice period to the owners. 

While quashing the circular, a division bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul Thursday directed the J&K government to comply with Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 undertaken for assignment of new registration mark of the vehicles.

The bench argued if the vehicle was once registered in any state in India, it shall not be required to be re-registered elsewhere.

“But when the Motor vehicle registered in one state, has been kept in another state for a period exceeding 12 months, the owner shall apply with the Registering Authority within whose jurisdiction the vehicle is for the assignment of new registration mark, this is as provided under Sections 46 and 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act,” the court added.  

“Therefore, a life time tax that is levied at the point of registration of a vehicle in terms of Section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Act, cannot be levied on a vehicle registered, merely on a presumption that a vehicle registered outside Union Territory of JK, has remained in the Union Territory of J&K for a period exceeding 12 months,” it ruled.

The court issued these directions while allowing two petitions which had challenged the circular dated March 27 this year issued by Regional Transport Officer, Kashmir. 

The circular had made it mandatory for owners who had purchased their vehicles bearing outside registration to apply for a new registration while citing Section 47/50 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, within a period of 15 days failing which it warned of action. 

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