Apex court pulls up states on high-security number plates

August 12th, 2011 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday cautioned Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to be ready to face the wrath of the court for their failure to implement tamper-proof high security number plates (HSNP) and licences for all vehicles operating in their states.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan, and Justice Swatanter Kumar indicated that these states could face contempt proceedings if they persisted with non-implementation of the high security number plates.

The court gave them a week’s time to fall in line or warned they would inch towards facing contempt.

When some states wanted time to file affidavit, the Chief Justice Kapadia said, “We are not asking for affidavit. We want results. We want to know whether tender process for high security plates have started or not.”

PIL petitioner M.S.Bitta, leader of All India Anti-Terrorists Front, had sought tamper proof number plates as the present system was prone to misuse by anti-social elements.

Giving a week’s time to explain why these states have failed to even initiate action for high security number plates, the court said that “If there is no explanation for delay (in implementing the high security number plates) then we will pass the order.”

When Kerala said that it had reinitiated the tender process for appointing companies for putting high security number on vehicles as in the first round there was only one bidder, the Chief Justice Kapadia said termed it as nothing but dilatory tactics.

Dismissing the application by Kerala, Chief Justice Kapadia said, “These are delaying tactics. You have called the tenders. Go ahead with the person who had bidded.”

Declining the request for direction and clarification by Kerala, the court said, “Why should we give direction. There is no question of giving clarification. You give the contract to the highest bidder.”

In the beginning of the hearing senior counsel Ashok Desai told the court that there were three categories of states. Some have implemented the scheme, others are in varying stages of its implementations and lastly are states which have not initiated any action at all.

Desai who appeared for Bitta, said that five states and three UTs have not complied with the direction on high security number plates. The five states are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Arunachal Pradesh. The UTs include Daman & Diu, Dadar and Nagar Havali and Lakshadweep.

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