The Jharkhand High Court has reiterated that heavy earth-moving vehicles like dumpers or rockers fall under the definition of "motor vehicles" under Section 2(28) of the Motor Vehicles Act, and need to be registered under the Act.

The Bench of Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad and Justice Navneet Kumar placed reliance on the Apex Court judgment of Bolani Ores Ltd. vs. State of Orissa, and said that, "The fact as to whether such vehicle is coming under the fold of Section 2(28) or not has been considered by Hon‟ble Apex Court in the case of Bolani Ores Ltd. V. State of Orissa (supra) wherein the issue fell for consideration is as to whether the legislature has intended to incorporate the definition under the Act as it was existed and not as it may exist from time to time. The Hon'ble Apex Court after taking note of the fact in entirety has laid down at paragraph 28 that vehicle like dumpers or rockers are motor vehicles which are not taken out of that category, they have to be registered and can only be driven by persons holding a valid licence."

AG R Venkataramani and others appeared for the appellant, while AAG Jai Prakash and Counsel Omiya Anusha appeared for the State.

The petitioner, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), filed a writ petition seeking to quash orders directing the payment of road tax, registration charges, and penalties for equipment used in its coal mines.

SAIL argued that its heavy earth-moving equipment, used exclusively within the leasehold area for mining operations, did not qualify as "motor vehicles" under the Motor Vehicles Act. Despite this, they received letters in 2014 instructing the registration of these vehicles.

The writ petition was dismissed by a Single Judge, who held that the equipment fell under the definition of "motor vehicles" under Section 2(28) of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Placing reliance on the case of Bolani Ores Ltd. vs State of Orissa, the High Court observed that the registration of the vehicle is necessary but so far applicability of Taxation Act is concerned the same is to be decided solely on the ground that the said vehicle is being plied within the premises of owners or not.

To answer the issue of whether the vehicle was taxable or not, the Court observed that, "the issue of vehicle is taxable or not it depends upon the test as to whether the vehicle is proposed to be used for transporting goods from one place to another."

Holding that it was not in dispute that the vehicle in question could be used for transporting goods from one place to another, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title: Steel Authority of India Ltd. vs The State of Jharkhand

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