The Allahabad High Court has held that any person can make an application along with prescribed fees for reservation of attractive registration numbers for their vehicles.
However, it has made it clear that such reservation is subject to the conditions stipulated by the statute, i.e. the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the U.P. Motor Vehicles Rules, 1998.
"The assignment of registration numbers as per the statutory provisions are to be made in serial order after the last registration mark assigned, and reservation of registration numbers can be made only as are considered necessary to be assigned to the vehicles of the Government, or in case of registration number considered attractive, the reservation may be made for any person who submits an application and makes the payment as per the procedure prescribed.
The reservation of registration numbers considered attractive is only as an exception to the general procedure of assignment of registration numbers falling in serial order after the last registration mark assigned, and the same is to be made as per the procedure prescribed under subrule (2) of Rule 51A," the Division Bench comprising of Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Dr. Yogendra Kumar Srivastava has held.
The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by one Rajesh Gaur, who had deposited a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- for reserving Registration No. 0001 of LMV (four-wheeler) in March 2020 but had not been able to purchase the vehicle so far.
The Petitioner had urged the Court to direct the Registering Authority to grant him two weeks' time to purchase the vehicle and allot the aforesaid VIP number to him, and not to anyone else.
While declining this plea the Court noted that the conditions prescribed in respect of reservation of registration numbers, as are considered attractive, include a clear stipulation under clause (vi) of sub-rule (2) (of rule 51A) that the reservation of registration number shall be cancelled if the vehicle is not produced "within thirty days from the date of reserving the registration number" and the number so cancelled can be allotted to any other person by the Registering Authority.
In view thereof the Bench held,
"The application of the petitioner for reservation of a VIP number i.e. a registration number considered attractive, is therefore subject to the conditions provided with regard to the same under sub-rule (2) of Rule 51A of the Rules, 1998.
The petitioner having admittedly not purchased the vehicle so far and the thirty days' period for which the reservation of a registration could continue having expired, no relief, as prayed for can be granted."
The Court further noted that the amount to so paid by the Petitioner for reserving the VIP number also cannot be refunded to him as there is a condition under clause (v) of Rule 51A(2) that registration fee once paid shall on no account be refunded.
Recently, the practice of State Government's charging extra fees for allotting special/ VIP vehicle registration numbers came to be scrutinized by the Supreme Court.
Whereas Senior Advocate Manoj Swarup, Amicus Curiae in the matter told the Court that state Governments are not empowered to charge any additional fee for registration, the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat observed that that the assignment of "distinctive marks" i.e. registration numbers to motor vehicles (which includes the power to reserve and allocate them, for a specific fee) is a distinct service for which states or their authorities (such as the registering authorities, in this case) are entitled to charge a prescribed fee.
State Governments Entitled To Prescribe Fee For Reserving Certain Numbers To Be Assigned As Registration Numbers For Motor Vehicles: SC
Case Title: Rajesh Gaur v. State of UP & Anr.
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