High Court’s additional fine for erring drivers under SC scanner
Express News Service
Friday, January 04, 2008 at 0000 hrs IST
New Delhi, January 3: The Delhi High Court’s decision to impose an additional fine of Rs 500 for every offence committed by drivers came up for further scrutiny by the Supreme Court on Thursday, as it sought responses from the state government and Delhi Police, besides others.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan issued notices to respondents, including the Union Transport Ministry and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), on a petition moved by the All India Goods Transport Association.
Terming it as “unwarranted, wrong, unjustified and contrary to the law,” the petitioning association urged the court to set aside this particular direction of the High Court. The petition, filed through counsel D K Sharma, contended the High Court had erred in imposing an amount of Rs 500 in addition to compounding the amount fixed under the Motor Vehicles Act.
“The said direction is tantamount to legislating the Motor Vehicles Act, which is very much within the domain of the Parliament, especially when the Parliament is already in the process of amending provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act,” submitted association president Sunil Atree.
Association members possess stage carriage permits in accordance with the provisions of the act.
The direction, dated March 26 last year, passed by a division bench of the High Court, has already been challenged in a similar petition before the Supreme Court. Acting on it, the bench had stayed the concerned directive till final disposal of the matter. Perusing today’s petition, the bench directed that it would be tagged along with that case and will be heard with it.
It was also submitted that under statutory provisions courts could award costs at the time of passing of the final order. But the High Court has awarded costs for each offence without prosecution at the time of compounding of the offence under the Motor Vehicles Act, the petition pointed out.
The petition also raised questions as to whether the High Court was justified in imposing Rs 500 as costs to compensate the state incurring expenditure in deploying forces, installing cameras, machines, censors and other arrangements, especially when every user of every vehicle pays various taxes, including road tax.
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS