HC declines plea against VLDT, Panic Buttons in public transport

Leaves it for govt to grant exemption
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has dismissed a plea seeking exemption from the fitment of Vehicle Location Tracking Devices (VLTD) and Panic Buttons till appropriate infrastructure like Command and Control centers to monitor and track the vehicles was established in Jammu and Kashmir

“From reading of the Rule 125-H (of the Central Motor vehicles Rules 1989), it is clear that all Public Service Vehicles except two wheelers, three wheelers, e-Rickshaw and a transport vehicle for which no permit is required under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, are required to be equipped with or fitted with VLTD and one or more Emergency Buttons,” a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar said while dismissing a petition by a Green Valley Sumo and Taxi Stand  Union.

The court said that no notification of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been brought to its notice whereby the exemption to comply with Rule 125-H has been granted.

“Rather one would find a copy of Minutes of Meeting chaired by Transport Commissioner dated 1st April, 2022, whereby in respect of “installation of Vehicle Location Tracking Devices”, a decision has been taken to direct all the RTO’s and ARTO’s to ensure the strict compliance of S.O No. 5453(E) dated 25th October, 2018 (calling for fitting vehicles with these devices),” the court said, adding, ““It was also made clear that process of fitment VLTD and one or more Emergency Buttons, would be completed within a period of four months and the Public Service Vehicle owners are free to choose or install VLTD and one or more Emergency Buttons of their choice from any of the manufacturers as long as it is type approved as per the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.” This decision, the court said, was taken on 1st April, 2022, and the four month period granted has expired on 1st August, 2022.

Underscoring that it cannot issue a direction to the authorities for acting contrary to the statutory Rules, the court said: “It is true that the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is empowered to grant exemption having regard to the relevant facts and circumstances and provide reasonable time to the petitioner to have their Public Service Vehicles fitted with the requisite devices to comply with the Rule 125-H of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989”.

 “This is, however, left to be determined by the Competent Authority having regard to the attending facts and circumstances.”

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