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Panchkula man who bought Haryana governor’s Merc in auction to return vanity number after 4 years

Initially, Chaudhary made representations to the authorities, but on failing to get relief, he moved the Punjab and Haryana high court in September 2015.

punjab Updated: Sep 09, 2018 10:54 IST
Surender Sharma
Surender Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panchkula,Haryana governor,Haryana
(illustration by Biswajit Debnath/HT)

A Panchkula resident who for the past four years had been driving a Mercedes Benz with the registration number allotted to the Haryana governor’s official car will have to finally hand over the vanity number back to the government.

Amardeep Chaudhary, brother of former Kalka MLA Pradeep Chaudhary, had bought the Mercedes Benz E280 — the governor’s official vehicle bearing the registration number HR-26-AG-0001 — in an auction in February 2014.

However, much to his surprise, the day after he got the vehicle from the Haryana Raj Bhavan, he was slapped with a notice to return the registration number.

Initially, Chaudhary made representations to the authorities, but on failing to get relief, he moved the Punjab and Haryana high court in September 2015.

However, in December 2015, a single-judge bench ruled against him. He went in for an appeal a month later and got a stay in his favour. But now that even the division bench said that it did not find any “infirmity” in the previous order, he decided to withdraw the appeal.

‘I bought the car just for number’

“We are a family of farmers. Why would we spend Rs 12 lakh on a second-hand car. We bought it for the number,” said Chaudhary. The family had been driving the car with the vanity number for the past four years.

“We had got a stay order from court against the notice,” he said, adding that he would now return the registration number as the HC also said that the incident happened due to confusion at the time of auction.

The auction was conducted by the Haryana directorate of supplies and disposals.“There was no condition that the vehicle would be sold without a valid registration number,” he had told court. Chaudhary had paid Rs 10.26 lakh as the price of the car and Rs 1.34 lakh as additional tax.

Govt invoked right to retain number

The government’s stand was that it reserved the right to retain registration numbers in certain category of VIP vehicles. Chaudhary had not disputed the right, but had submitted that at no point during the bidding process he was told that the registration number would not be transferred to him.

“We have no reason to doubt that due to the confusion created at the time of auction (the incident happened); the authorities will consider the appellant’s request sympathetically for allotment of a priority registration number at concessional price within two months,” the bench of justice Surya Kant and justice Sudip Ahluwalia said while disposing of the matter last week.

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 10:54 IST