The AAP government has been slapped with a fine of Rs 5,000 by the Delhi High Court for failing to respond to a notice issued by the court on a radio cab operator’s plea alleging levy of excess road tax.
The cab operator, Magic Sewa, has claimed in its plea that road tax being demanded from it was in excess of what was permitted under the law and more than what was being collected from regular taxis. While imposing the costs, Justice A K Chawla directed the Delhi government’s transport department to file its affidavit within two weeks on the plea.
The petitioners, which also include owner-drivers of several city cabs, have contended they were being asked to obtain licences in the individual category by misinterpreting the Motor Vehicles Act. Magic Sewa, in its petition, has also alleged that the government was also asking city taxi aggregators to submit bank guarantees of Rs 15 lakh which were in excess of what was permitted under the law. The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on January 4 next year.
“The respondent is collecting road tax from the petitioners’ city taxis at a rate of Rs 1,980 whereas the rate of road tax specified under Delhi Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1962 is only Rs 605. The respondent also requires city taxis to obtain a licence whereas there is no such provision under the law. Further, petitioner no.1 was made to furnish a bank guarantee in the sum of Rs 15,00,000 whereas the amount specified under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is only Rs 5,000,” the petition, filed in May 2016, said and added that the representations to the government have gone unanswered.
The taxi operator has sought directions prohibiting the government from collecting road tax in excess of what is specified under Delhi Motor Vehicles Taxation Act. The plea has sought a refund or adjustment of excess road tax collected from the petitioners for the registration of their taxis” and directions “prohibiting the respondent from requiring the petitioners to obtain a licence under the City Taxi Scheme, 2015”.
Taking note of it, the court in its interim order had made clear that the road tax to be paid by the petitioners shall be subject to the final outcome of the writ petition.