SC notice to Centre on high security number plates

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India, File Photo

New Delhi, Feb 6 The Supreme Court has issued notice to the central government on a petition seeking contempt action on two government notifications issued on the court’s orders relating to high security vehicle number plates over 10 years.

A bench of Justice R. Bhanumati and Justice R. Subhash Reddy directed issuance of the notice after petitioner Ajay Sharma contended that various orders of the apex court sought to ensure that the “security” aspects of the policy on high security number plates ought to be carried out in a state by a single technically and financially competent manufacturer.

The manufacturer’s facilities, embossing stations, books and documents were to be subject to strict and periodical scrutiny and inspection by the state government, the central government and the expert body and testing agencies.

However, the petitioner, represented by senior counsel Vikas Singh, contended that two notifications issued by the central government turns the old scheme on its head, removing all important aspects of security and control of the government authorities over the manufacturers and suppliers of these number plates.

“The replacement of plates on such a larger number of vehicles spread across the country can be carried out only in a planned and phased manner, which was possible under the earlier system. The amendment does not impose any agency with the responsibility of ensuring that these number plates are affixed on/old already sold motor vehicles.

“While the new scheme does make passing reference to old vehicles, it has been framed without keeping in view the enormity of the task involved,” he submitted.

The petitioner also contended the present scheme paved the way for supply through multiple manufacturers thereby scattering the steps involved in the manufacturing, supply, embossment and affixation of high security number plates and involving multiple entities in the process.

Consequently, the feature of issuance control, the very essence of the scheme when introduced in 2001, stood dissolved.

Singh alleged enforcement of the two notifications would upset the entire scheme, as solidified by the Supreme Court, and were in violation of its orders, contempt action should be taken against the Union government.

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