HC stays requirement to obtain fitment certificates from manufacturers of reflective stickers

Transport Secretary had made them mandatory for issuing Fitness Certificate to motor vehicles

The Madras High Court has stayed the operation of a communication by the Transport Secretary to all Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) on August 3 instructing them to insist upon production of fitment certificate from authorised private manufacturers of reflectors, reflective stickers and rear marking plates before issuing Fitness Certificates (FC) to motor vehicles.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh granted the interim stay on a writ petition filed by Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation. The counsel for the federation S. Govindraman contended that the requirement to obtain fitment certificates from select private companies would cause hardship to motor vehicle owners. He also said such a procedure had no legal sanction at all.

Initially, the Transport Secretary had sent a communication to all RTOs in the State on July 23 saying that India had recorded largest number of fatalities in road accidents in the world and the same was increasing at an alarming level every year. Hence, it had been made mandatory for all public service vehicles to be fitted with reflectors on sides and rear.

Further, it had been made compulsory that only reflectors and reflective tapes conforming highest standards must be fitted on the vehicles. He stated that the government had identified two manufacturers who make reflectors in accordance with those standards and authorised them to affix the reflectors on vehicles that had to obtain Fitness Certificate every year.

In the subsequent communication on August 3, the Secretary told the RTOs that they must insist upon motor vehicle owners to produce fitment certificates from the authorised manufacturers of reflectors. Further, the RTOs should ascertain the genuineness of such fitment certificates by using security features such as hologram and scanning the QR code, he instructed.

Challenging such a stipulation, the petitioner association claimed that neither the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 nor the statutory rules framed under it contemplate any such procedure of obtaining fitment certificates from private companies. It said that the stipulation imposed by the Transport Secretary Tenkasi S. Jawahar was peculiar and arbitrary.

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