HC slaps ₹5 lakh fine on PMC for plying 925 unregistered vehicles
The Patna High Court Friday imposed a fine of ₹5 lakh on the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) with direction to the municipal body to recover the amount from its erring officers/officials due to whose lapse 925 municipal vehicles kept plying on roads without mandatory registration.
The court asked the fine amount to be deposited with the state government.
“It is difficult to fathom that a municipal body was oblivious of the requirement of getting 925 vehicles (approx.) to be registered under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Such vehicles were allowed to be plied in public places for a considerable period, thus potentially jeopardising public interest and endangering human life and property. It is only under the monitoring of this Court from time to time and more particularly interim orders since 2019 that the corporation took steps for complying with the mandate of law and getting the vehicles registered under the Act,” observed the bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Partha Sarthy.
The bench ordered that “no vehicle of the PMC, the state government or its authorities would be plied in derogation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,” and directed the principal secretary (urban development department) to probe and take appropriate action against the erring officers/officials.
“The disciplinary proceedings must be completed within four months from today,” the bench said.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Nirbhay Prashant in 2019, seeking direction to the municipal corporation for registration and insurance of around 925 vehicles used for collecting garbage and ensure the collection of revenue loss caused by non-registration and non-insurance of the vehicles of the Corporation.
The petitioner stated that he had filed a representation before the municipal commissioner and the secretary, transport department, bringing to their notice the violation of the Motor Vehicles Act by the Corporation, but no action was taken, after which he approached the HC.
Later, in its affidavit, the Patna district transport officer admitted that the transport department had come to know of government vehicles plying without registration and the department secretary had written to all officials concerned for registration of official vehicles and submit a list of vehicles plying without registration and insurance. The secretary of the transport department also set up a committee to inquire into the matter.
In its order, the bench observed that the Motor Vehicles Act, being a welfare legislation, was enacted to ensure road safety, compensation for victims of road accidents, third party insurance and health and safety of vehicles and registration of vehicles was an essential step in achieving this objective.