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Delhi HC Seeks Centre's Stand on Plea on Pending Challans and Fitness Certificate of Vehicles

File photo of Delhi High Court

File photo of Delhi High Court

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Transport Ministry, Delhi government and the police seeking their stand on the plea by a taxi owner whose application for renewal of fitness certificate of his vehicle was not considered as there were several pending challans connected with the four wheeler.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response of the Centre, AAP government and the police on a plea challenging the provisions which require closure of all pending challans involving a vehicle for availing any service, like fitness certificate or NOC, connected with it. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Transport Ministry, Delhi government and the police seeking their stand on the plea by a taxi owner whose application for renewal of fitness certificate of his vehicle was not considered as there were several pending challans connected with the four wheeler.

The taxi owner, Dharmendra Kumar, in his plea filed through advocate Praveen Agrawal, has sought quashing of the provisions under the Standard Operating Procedure, issued by the ministry in 2018, which mandate closure of all pending challans to be eligible to avail services like no objection or fitness certificates. The plea has contended that the such provisions under the SOP are in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules framed under it.

He has further contended that the SOP provisions “infer that no work will be done even if a challan is under contest, throwing the principle of presumption of innocence out of the window”. “The respondents (ministry, Delhi government and police), thus, are violating the constitutional rights of the petitioner (Kumar) by denying him the right to contest challans and instead, forcing him to compound them by paying the amounts demanded without demur,” the petition said.

It has also contended that challans alleged to be pending against the petitioner’s vehicle are offences for which the driver, and not the four wheeler, are responsible. “The pendency of challans does not prevent the vehicle from being used in a lawful manner by any driver holding a valid licence. This is amply clear from a reading of Rule 22 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules which provides for endorsement of the driving licence, that too after conviction by the court. In other words, the entire process of prosecution is with regard to the driving licence. It has no effect on or connection with the vehicle,” the petition has claimed. It has alleged that the SOP provisions were being used as a tool to “compel” drivers/owners of commercial vehicles to compound or pay the challans and it does not impact the owners/drivers of private vehicles.

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