The Bombay High Court has refused to grant relief on a petition challenging the decision of a Regional Transport Office (RTO) to levy environment tax on a 33-year-old Premier Padmini car, which was mechanically unfit and rendered permanently unusable.
However, Justice B P Dharmadhikari allowed the petitioner to obtain a certificate from the Transport Commissioner of a non-user.
The petitioner had claimed before Nagpur RTO that his vehicle was not in use and he wanted it to be treated as a scrap. Therefore, he sought de-registration, contending that the car had lost its road worthiness.
The judge said that under the provisions of the law, it was necessary for the petitioner to inform the competent authority about this development in advance or within seven days and to obtain a certificate that the vehicle was not used or kept for use in the state from that date onwards”.
“He could have even moved the Transport Commissioner and placed the entire material before him and sought a certificate of non user. The petitioner has not explained why he has not taken recourse to these provisions in law “, the judge observed.
“Though, nobody has argued on the question whether the petitioner can approach the Transport Commissioner under the provisions of law, we feel that the petitioner may still approach that Authority, if he is so advised. Hence, we keep that remedy open for him,” the judge further noted.
In the result, the judge ruled that no case warranting any interference of the court was made out. He, therefore, dismissed the petition.
The petitioner, Ashokkumar Shankarprasad, had challenged the decision of the authorities of introducing Environment Tax by amending the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act.
During the arguments, petitioner’s counsel T D Mandlekar, made it clear that his client is not pressing the challenge or question of the constitutional validity. However, as the vehicle is incapable of being used on road for being mechanically unfit, the same cannot be taxed and hence the arrears of Environment Tax being charged was unsustainable.