Vehicles in Maharashtra will soon have High Security Registration (HSR) plates and an advanced road safety system.
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday paved the way for installing high security registration plates on vehicles by vacating an interim status quo order granted three years ago.
Vehicles in Maharashtra will also have the Electronic Vehicle Identification (EVI) technology that will enable authorities to identify a speeding vehicle. EVI technology is a road safety system that uses a wireless communication link to read data stored in a vehicle in an electronic format.
The central government had made the installation of HSR plates mandatory by amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules in 2001. Maharashtra did not implement the rule until 2005, when the apex court directed all states to employ it.
HSR plates are tamper-proof plates protected with a hologram and installed at regional transport offices or government approved agencies to ensure uniformity.
The Maharashtra government, in June 2007, had invited tenders for supplying HSR plates. One of the bidders, Akruti Security Plates Private Limited, moved the high court challenging some tender conditions and the court directed the state to maintain status quo.
The state had, in March this year, set up an expert committee on HSR plates. The committee, which submitted its report on June 19, found that HSR plates were inadequate and instead recommended the more advanced EVI technology.
The state accepted the recommendation and cancelled the tender process for the HSR plates. Schmint Utsch India Private Limited challenged this decision in the high court saying it was contrary to the Centre’s rules and had been taken to favour Akruti.
A division bench of Justice D.K. Deshmukh and Justice R.P. Sondurbaldota, however, found the policy decision taken by the state government in consonance with the rules.
The bench dismissed the petition on Wednesday saying, “…The state is not trying to avoid implementing the concerned rules but they are taking some additional steps in order to augment measures to address security threats.”
The court also vacated its earlier status quo order because Akruti Security Plates withdrew its petition filed in 2007.
Advocate General Ravi Kadam informed the court that the state will require at least three months to conduct trials of the EVI technology before initiating a fresh tender process.