22 Sep 2023 6:26 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has refused to stay government notifications mandating fixing of High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) on vehicles registered before April 1, 2019, by OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturers)/Authorised dealers who in turn will source the number plates only from HSRP manufacturers authorised by vehicle manufacturers (OEMs).A single judge bench of Justice B M...
The Karnataka High Court has refused to stay government notifications mandating fixing of High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) on vehicles registered before April 1, 2019, by OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturers)/Authorised dealers who in turn will source the number plates only from HSRP manufacturers authorised by vehicle manufacturers (OEMs).
A single judge bench of Justice B M Shyam Prasad however directed the State to finalise and publish the process that is to be followed by the vehicle manufactures to accord approval for every license plate manufacturer with Type Approval Certificate (TAC).
The development comes in a plea filed by High Security Registration Plate Manufacturers Association of India alleging that the impugned notifications excludes the petitioners from the process and allow only "influential" HSRP manufacturers selected by OEMS and their dealers, to fix HSRP on existing vehicles.
During the hearings, the bench had asked the State Government if it would be open to consider framing a Scheme within definite timeline, for processing the request for grant of authorization for license plate manufacturers who have TAC issued by the Central Road Research Institute [CRRI] or any other agency notified for such purpose.
However, the government responded that approval of license plate manufacturers by vehicle manufacturers is an exclusive scheme and having chosen this exclusive mode, it cannot implement HSRP Scheme both through OEMs and the process of approval of license plate manufacturers on the ground of hardship.
Thereafter, on going through the records, the bench noted that State had not granted any approval for any license plate manufacturers to supply HSRP for old vehicles prior to the impugned notification/ circular. Moreover, there was no publication of the State Government’s intendment to insist on approval under Rule 50[v] of the MV Rules through the vehicle manufacturers. Thus it held,
“The State Government has also not placed any material on record to demonstrate that it has formulated a scheme identifying the process to be followed by the vehicle manufacturers to grant approval to the license plate manufacturers to supply HSRP to old vehicles, which even according to it would be a requirement under Rule 50[v] of the MV Rules.”
Court said the question of arbitrariness in the implementation of the HSRP Scheme could be mostly eliminated if the State Government had formulated a time bound process to be followed by the vehicle manufacturers to grant approval, especially with the stipulation that the owners of the old vehicles must have HSRP affixed on their vehicles within a period of 90 days from the date of the impugned notifications.
Thus it held, “The petitioners - license plate manufacturers, subject to decision on the question of approval as contemplated under Rule 50[v] of the Rules and without prejudice to the contentions urged and pending consideration, must have a reasonable opportunity to participate in the process of implementation of HSRP with the approval of the vehicle manufacturers and subject to the outcome of these writ petitions. The factors of balance of convenience and irreparable injury could be reasonably achieved if the State Government, subject to further orders of this Court and without prejudice to its case, is called upon to notify a detailed process to be followed to the vehicle manufacturers to grant approval across the board to all the license plate manufacturers with the necessary TAC and this exercise must be completed within a timeframe.”
Appearance: Senior Advocates Dr. Aditya Sondhi and K N Phanindra for petitioners.
Additional Advocate General Vikram Huilgol, for the State Government.
Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, for the applicant in I.A. No.2/2023.
Advocate Shravanth Arya Tandra, for the applicant in I.A. No.3/2023
Case Title: High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) Manufacturers Association Of India And Others vs. State Of Karnataka And Others]
Case No: WP NO 19861/2023 C/W WP NO. 20148/2023, WP NO. 20971/2023.
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