The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Additional Advocate General to file an affidavit of Chief Secretary to the Himachal Pradesh Government explaining how the Government justify allotment of VIP numbers to a government vehicle.

"The Court fails to understand as to what is so special about these numbers that a government vehicle can not do without it…", the bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel observed.

Advocate Nitin Thakur appeared for the petitioner whereas Additional Advocates General Sumesh Raj and Dinesh Thakur with Amit Kumar Dhumal, Deputy Advocate General appeared for the Respondents/State.

In the instant case, as per the petitioner, he had applied for a VIP registration number against payment of Rs.50,000/­, yet allotment of the said number was arbitrarily denied to him by the Department.

According to a 2011 notification, Rule 69­B of the existing Himachal Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1999 was substituted to the effect that an amount of Rs.75,000/­ was chargable as special registration fee for allotment of number 0001 of any series to a vehicle owner and an amount of Rs.50,000/­ was chargeable as special registration fee for serial No 0002 to 0009.

Another notification of 2015 on record showed that the amount of special registration fee has been enhanced to Rs.1,00,000/­ for serial No.0001 to 0010 and also for serial No.0011 to 0100. Beyond serial No.0101 to 0999 the amount of special registration fee is Rs.25,000/­ and from serial No. 1000 onwards, it is Rs.5,000/­.

The Court noted that "Incidently, the registration marks or serial or registration No.0001 to 0010 have been reflected to be as "reserved" and it is also mentioned in the notification that registration marks specified against serial No. 0001 shall be reserved for motor vehicles owned by Government and shall be allotted only after payment of fix charge of Rs. 1 Lakh by the concerned government agency."

The Court sought a response from the Chief Secretary as to what is so special about these numbers.

"…learned Additional Additional Advocate General is directed to file an affidavit of Chief Secretary, to the Government of Himachal Pradesh as to what is sacrosanct about serial no. 0001 to 0010 that a government vehicle cannot do without these numbers and further how does the Government justify allotment of these numbers to a Government vehicle against payment of money which money obviously is of tax payer.", the Court directed.

The Court listed the matter for December 12, 2022.

Cause Title- Sanjay Sood v. State of H.P. & Ors.

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