What is there in a car registration number? If it is DLS-1, then it could be worth a million.
Industrialist Lalit Kumar Bagla of Hindustan Adhesives claims that his family has had a right over the number since 1970. Bagla's father Satyanarayan Bagla had obtained DLS-1 registration number for his Fiat car. The same number was subsequently transferred to a Honda Accent.
When Bagla went to the Transport Authority for transfer of the number from the Honda Accent to a newly purchased Ford Fiesta in August 2006, the authorities refused to budge.
Bagla filed a petition in the Delhi High Court asking it to direct the transport authorities to make the transfer.
He prayed that he was prepared to scrap the Honda City car if the number was given to the new car.
After deliberations for six long months and lasting 10 hearings, the court dismissed the petition saying the authorities had expressed their inability to allot the number due to security reasons.
Justice BD Ahmed said: "The petition is dismissed as the authorities have stopped transferring the old number to a new vehicle due to security concerns."
The Delhi Transport Authority stopped interchange of registration numbers from October 2004, counsel for state transport authority said.
Bagla claims that he had spent Rs.one million to get the number for his car.
Apart from DLS-1, he has a Mercedes Benz with number DLO-1, a Chevrolet Optra with WBH-1 and Honda City with WBG-1, says the petition.
Bagla claims that his father, in his registered will, transferred the numbers to him (Bagla) and his wife Parbati.
Asked what is there in these numbers, Bagla said he was emotionally attached to them.
The court had in August 2001 directed the transport authority to transfer DLO-1 from a Fiat to Mercedes Benz, Bagla claims in the petition.
Bagla also fought two litigations in the Calcutta High Court in February 2004 and September 2006 to transfer number WBH-1 from Maruti-800 to a Chevrolet Optra and WBG-1 from Maruti to a Honda City.
Bagla's counsel Parmit Roy submitted that if the West Bengal Transport authority could transfer the number from an old car to a new one, then why could the Delhi authorities not do it?
A crestfallen Bagla is contemplating filing a revision petition in the Supreme Court challenging the high court order.