The plea referred to an RTI response by the MEA saying none of its 14 cars were registered.
New Delhi: The vehicles of the country’s top constitutional authorities, the President, the vice-president, governors and lieutenant governors, will have to display their registration numbers soon.
In its affidavit filed before a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C. Hari Shankar of the Delhi high court, the Union ministry of road transport and highways said that it has written to the authorities concerned to get these vehicles registered.
The affidavit stated: “The offices of the President, vice-president, governors and lieutenant governors in the country and secretary (Union external affairs ministry) have been asked vide letter dated January 2, 2018 to ensure that all the vehicles used by the President, President’s secretariat, vice-president, V-P’s secretariat, governor and lieutenant governors or their officers’ secretariat, Union ministry of external affairs be registered display registration mark as per the rules.”
The affidavit filed through central government standing counsel Rajesh Gogna said that in pursuant to the letter, the vice-president secretariat informed that “all the vehicles of this secretariat display their registration numbers, including vehicles being used by the vice-president and his spouse”.The Union external affairs ministry has intimated that it has 14 vehicles maintained by its protocol division and that it has initiated the process of their registration, the high court was informed.
The ministry’s response came in the backdrop of a PIL seeking to enforce the display of registration number on cars of constitutional authorities and dignitaries.
The PIL, filed by NGO Nyayabhoomi, claimed that the practice of displaying the state emblem of four lions instead of the registration numbers, make the cars conspicuous and the dignitaries may become easy targets for terrorists and anyone with malicious intent.
It also said: “The practice of replacing the registration mark with the emblem of India, instead of displaying them both, is arbitrary and symptomatic of the desire to rule rather than to serve.”
The PIL also sought direction to the AAP government and Delhi police to seize the cars used by the Rashtrapati Bhavan, V-P, Raj Nivas and protocol division of the MEA for not being registered under the Motor Vehicles Act. The plea referred to an RTI response by the MEA saying none of its 14 cars were registered.
On the other hand, the plea claimed that the Rashtrapati Bhavan refused to supply registration numbers of its cars on the ground that disclosure of such information would endanger the security of the state and life and physical safety of the President.