Auto dealers across the city charge thousands of rupees from buyers towards logistics, stocking and loading, without being authorised by the law.
Taking note of a public interest litigation (PIL), assailing this practice, the Delhi high court on Wednesday issued a show-cause notice to the state transport department, seeking an explanation as to why no action has been taken against dealers indulging in the illegal practice.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri has sought the department’s response by December 21. It, however, did not issue notice to the 60 dealers named as respondents in the PIL.
The PIL, filed by advocate C Rajaram, has sought an impartial inquiry into the matter and a direction to the transport department to stop the illegal practice.The PIL has claimed levy of such charges, ranging from Rs 3,500 to Rs 25,000 per car, are in contravention to the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules of 1993.
Rajaram’s counsel, Amit Khanna, told the court the illegal practice began following an amendment in the act, empowering dealers with trade certificates to register vehicles sold by them.
Before the amendment, buyers got vehicles registered on their own.
As per the petitioner’s calculation, more than Rs 550 crore has been collected by various dealers with the levy of such charges.
“Twelve to thirteen thousand four-wheelers are registered in a month. If the rate of logistic, handling, loading and unloading service charges is accounted from the year 1999 and we take into account the minimum amount of Rs 3,500 charged for each car, these unscrupulous car dealers have collected a staggering sum of more than R550 crore,” Khanna said.
According to the petitioner, the practice continues despite a 2007 public notice issued by the transport department, cautioning buyers from paying extra charges. Condemning the department officials for failing to curtail the “unscrupulous” practice, the petitioner accused them of turning a blind eye to it. Khanna said that dealers were under an obligation not to charge extra other than the taxes and fees, as authorised by the transport department.
An undertaking to this effect is given to the department in lieu of the trade certificate.
“The department can simply cancel or refuse the certificate’s renewal, if this illegal practice does not stop,” he contended.
There was no response to the petitioner’s representation either by the Lieutenant-Governor or the transport department, the PIL claimed.