Even as Delhi traffic police are implementing the directions of the Supreme Court to suspend the licences of persons found violating traffic rules, the Delhi High Court has asked the transport department to look into “procedural flaws” in the exercise. The bench of Justice J R Midha last week took note of “lapses” in the procedure being followed in sending notices and suspending licences of persons by the traffic police and the transport department. The bench is hearing petitions filed by persons who have challenged the show cause notices issued to them.
According to reports, Delhi police had in December 2015 issued notices to over 39,000 persons for violating traffic rules, intimating them that their licences may be suspended for three months. Show cause notices were sent by the Transport Department, initiating suspensions.
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The petitioners have claimed that the show cause notice, sent by the Transport department, was “arbitrary and vague” and the government could not have issued a show cause notice on the basis of a challan, as the offence had been “compounded” by paying the challan amount.
The petitioners have argued that the notices issued to them required them to submit their driving licences to the Motor Licensing Officer (MLO) of the district along with their reply to the notice, which violated principles of natural justice by not allowing them to challenge the notice.
One of the petitions, filed by an advocate practicing in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court, has alleged that the show cause notice was “issued in a mechanical exercise” and did not disclose any details of the offence alleged to have been committed by the petitioner. During the brief hearing on March 17, advocate Satyam Thareja and advocate Abhijat, who were appearing for the petitioners, also pointed out that the notices had been issued after the licence of the petitioners had already been impounded by the traffic police, as a “post facto exercise”. The lawyers also argued that under the Motor Vehicles Act, if a challan is issued for a traffic violation, the offence is said to have been compounded, and another punishment could not be imposed for the same offence.
The judge has asked the Delhi government to file its reply to the pleas, observing that “adequate information and procedures” were “not in place”. The bench also asked the government to consider “removing the procedural flaws”. The matter will be heard on March 28.