The Punjab government on Wednesday partially blamed its chief judicial magistrates (CJM) for letting go defaulter sleeper coach buses by imposing petty penalties.
The government said this in the Punjab and Haryana High Court while filing a status report in response to a PIL seeking action against those who do not pay taxes for plying sleeper or tourist coach buses in Punjab.
The state submitted that from November 22,2012 to February 28,2013,it had detected 397 tourist or sleeper coach buses entering Punjab without paying the tax. These buses were challaned or impounded and Rs 38.30 lakh was recovered as motor vehicles tax,along with penalty.
During monthly meetings,most enforcement officers said that challans of such impounded vehicles are sent to the chief judicial magistrate for disposal. In some cases,the chief judicial magistrates release the impounded vehicles after imposing petty fines, the report stated. The court was also told that a special campaign has been launched to check illegal operation of sleeper coach buses registered in other states entering Punjab.
Punjab,to prevent evasion of tax,has decided to introduce a provision in the Punjab Motor Vehicle Taxation Act-1924. The provision will increase the penalty on the owner or the driver of a transport vehicle being paid on contract carriage permit or tourist permit of other states entering Punjab,without paying taxes on entry points or for overstay.
As per the proposed amendment,the penalty will be of Rs 50,000 for first offence and Rs 1 lakh for any subsequent offence. District transport officers have also been directed to ensure that a register be maintained for tourist sleeper coach buses registered in other states entering Punjab.