HSRP:A method to test how far people bear with arbitrary administrative action

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Affixation of High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) on vehicles, with threat of heavy penalty to defaulters, is perhaps a method to test how far people bear with arbitrary administrative action.

The term ‘high security’ is not defined in Law and nobody knows how his/her vehicle would be secured by this high security registration plate. Vehicle owners have affixed registration plates in earmarked spaces of their respective vehicles. They have spent money for that. Why are they being forced to spend more money in these HSRPs?

Governments, both at the Center and in the States have not declared their own responsibility in respect to vehicles that comply with the HSRP order.

Affixation of registered number plate on a vehicle is controlled under Section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 that reads as follows:

“No person shall drive any motor vehicle and no owner of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is registered in accordance with this Chapter and the certificate of registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled and the vehicle carries a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner.”

Thus, preparation and affixation of necessary plates to display registration number of the vehicles was the responsibility of owners thereof. This had allowed every vehicle owner to prepare his /her own number plate and affix the same in the vehicle. So, subjecting those vehicle owners to rush to a particular person / farm through electronic means to get a high security plate without knowing the scope and limit of high security and further subjecting them to a panic period generated by the threat of a menacing cash penalty is blatantly arbitrary.

Data in the high security plate would help in identifying a stolen vehicle, the government say. But they do not say what punishment shall be given to the officer who fails to retrieve the vehicle even after identification.

Government in a democracy mustn’t be a vehicle for intimidating the people with threat of cash punishment as is happening in HSRP matter that has retrospective effect.

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