The Kerala High Court has quashed the clauses of a circular issued by the Transport Commissioner which states that requests for renewal of permits, transfer of ownership and certificate of fitness for stage carriers shall not be processed in case a check report is pending before the authority.
Justice V Chitambaresh passed the order on a petition filed by Kerala Transport Owners’ Association state secretary K A Najeeb, challenging clauses 20 and 30 in the circular issued by the Transport Commissioner. The petitioners submitted that the clauses tread on the rights of the bus operators. The court said that the clauses are arbitrary, violate Article 14 of the Constitution and offend the rights of the operators to carry business under Article 19(1) (g).
Clause 30 says that clearance as stipulated by the check report should be obtained by owners of a vehicle, in order to get a certificate of fitness or renewal of registration from the Transport Department. According to the petitioner, the proceedings initiated by a check report were seldom finalised early and the operators could not afford to wait till its culmination to continue their services.
The check report is normally prepared when instances of rash and negligent driving, use of air horns, non-fitment of speed governors, non-issue of tickets to passengers, trip curtailment etc., are noticed.
The checking officer could himself dispose of the check report if the owner or permit holder expresses willingness to pay the compound fee on spot. Otherwise, the report would be sent to the RTO who has the option to initiate action. A period of three months is specified for the completion of exercise, on the basis of a check report.