The Supreme Court today rejected a plea of Punjab-based travel agents seeking scrapping of the Punjab Travel Professionals’ Regulation Act on the grounds that the law to curb human smuggling has nothing to do with them.
“Tell us what is the restrictive clause. It is just a regulatory provision. These are only regulatory in nature and not restrictive. Go to the High Court,” a vacation bench of Justice Arun Mishra said while dismissing the petition as withdrawn.
The apex court also said there was nothing wrong with the licence fee of Rs one lakh for the registration of travel agents and this was not an unreasonable amount keeping in mind the profits they make.
The travel agents had challenged the validity of the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act 2012, now renamed as the Punjab Travel Professionals’ Regulation Act 2012, as unconstitutional and sought that it should be struck down.
Advocate R K Kapoor, appearing for the travel agents, had said the provision of the Punjab Travel Professionals’ Regulation Act 2012 and its 2013 Regulation Rules mandated that all those in the travel agents’ business, consultancy or ticketing would have to get themselves registered upon the payment of licence fee.
The travel agents had said that human smuggling had nothing to do with them and therefore the menace could not be curbed through the Act.
The petition contended that Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling (Amendment) Act 2014 states that the Act has been enacted to curb the illegal and fraudulent activities of persons involved in organised human smuggling in Punjab, but it is not understandable as to how the same can be curbed by regulating the profession of travel agents.