Choe’s across Kashmir valley after 100’s of vehicles bearing outside registration seized by the authorities. But, while talking to the authorities, things were made clear “If you have PROPER documents, and your vehicle is fit to ply, nothing to worry”
Regional Transport Officer Kashmir has said that registration of vehicles purchased outside Jammu and Kashmir is mandatory in Jammu and Kashmir. RTO Kashmir Makes J&K Registration Mandatory for Non-J&K Purchased Vehicles.
According to a notification issued by RTO Kashmir, the ARTOs of Valley districts have been asked to seize vehicles purchased outside Jammu and Kashmir but run in Kashmir without registration by concerned regional transport authorities in Jammu and Kashmir and those possessing vehicles purchased outside Jammu have been advised to follow the due procedures for registration immediately in Jammu and Kashmir. The notification issued by RTO Kashmir reads “Vehicles purchased outside J&K with non-J&K registration numbers and not registered with local ARTO offices are being seized”, adding that “If you own any such vehicle, get it transferred and registered with local ARTO immediately to avoid seizure.”
Meanwhile, dozens of vehicles with a non-Jammu and Kashmir registration have been seized by the authorities across Kashmir, following a government decision to get such vehicles re-registered with the government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The exercise was started on Saturday, first in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, where many vehicles were seized. As many as 137 such vehicles were seized by police in a day in Kulgam and Budgam, police said.
Kashmir Post talked to experts and officials and sources to understand what was going on. Sources in the Regional Transport Office (RTO) Srinagar told Kashmir Post that some commercial vehicles had been sneaked into Anantnag and Budgam districts and they were plying illegally.
“The decision was taken to curb this very practice. However, while the decision has been taken now, the private vehicles with non-Jammu and Kashmir registration also come within the ambit of this order,” the highly placed source said.
Officials, however, maintain that the decision was taken precisely for two reasons.
“One is that there is an abundance of stolen vehicles in Kashmir. This menace has to be curbed,” the Regional Transport Official (RTO) Kashmir, Ikramullah Tak, told Kashmir Post.
The second reason, he said, was that it was mandatory by law to get a vehicle with registration from another state re-registered with the government of the state or the UT the owner was presently living in.
“It has to be done within six months,” Tak said, adding that the vehicle owners have to also pay the road tax afresh. “They have paid that tax to use roads of some other state and not to us. They have to repay the tax,” he explained.
What does the rule say?
As per the transport rules, and contrary to the RTO’s claims, you need to re-register your vehicle in two cases. One, if you are moving permanently to another state with your vehicle, and two, if your stay in another state exceeds one year.
“In both these cases you need to re-register your vehicle with the government of the state or UT you have moved to,” an expert told Kashmir Post. He said the process includes getting a NOC from the RTO of the state you have moved from.
“Further, you have to submit all your documents to the RTO of the state/UT you have moved to and then pay all the taxes to get your new registration certificate,” the expert said.
Despite the legality of the move, people in Kashmir think that it is being implemented in haste and is being shoved down their throat.
“There should have been a prior announcement and then a deadline. This is not how you treat people, who are out with their families and you seize the vehicle to leave them stranded on the road,” people Kashmir Post talked to said.
A resident of Anantnag district told Kashmir Post that he was taking his mother to the hospital when he was stopped by police and his vehicle was seized. “I had to look for another vehicle to ferry my mother to the hospital, despite having all the documents in my vehicle. Is that fair? Don’t you think the authorities should at least provide a deadline to the concerned people?” the resident, Basharat Ahmad, told Kashmir Post.
RTO Ikramullah Tak told Kashmir Post that no vehicle with proper documents will be seized and they will be given time to re-register their vehicles. Asked about the Anantnag incident, Tak said that it was the judgment of the policeman on duty “as to how he deals with the situation”.
Besides, there is a grave cause of concern for people who have Euro-3 vehicles with registration from other states, as the Supreme Court has recently passed a judgment wherein re-registration of Euro-3 vehicles has been banned.
Euro-3 vehicles are mostly registered up to 2009 and in some cases 2010.
“So, as per this new government directive, which asks re-registration of non-Jammu and Kashmir vehicles, the Euro-3 vehicles need to be re-registered as well. But it has been banned by the Supreme Court. What now?” asked an expert Junaid Nazir.
Kashmir Post asked RTO Tak about the issue and he was pretty categorical that such vehicles will not be re-registered.
“We won’t re-register these vehicles. Only Euro-3 vehicles that will be allowed to ply will be vehicles with Jammu and Kashmir registration,” Tak said. Asked if he meant that Euro-3 vehicles with registration from elsewhere will be scrapped, he replied in the affirmative.