The High Court of Karnataka has directed the State government to formulate and publish a scheme within 15 days to ensure that vehicle manufacturers grant approval across the board to all the High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) manufacturers possessing Type Approval Certificate (TAC) to fix HSRPs to all the old vehicles registered before April 1, 2019, in Karnataka.
The government’s August 17 notification had left it to the discretion of the vehicle manufacturers to fix HSRPs only through their dealers by procuring the registration plates from TAC possessing HSRP manufacturers of their choice.
Justice B.M. Shyam Prasad issued the interim directions on the petitions filed by HSRP Manufacturers’ Association of India and some of the individual HSRP manufacturing firms possessing TAC.
The petitioners had alleged that the August 17 notification was issued to allow only the ‘influential’ HSRP manufacturers, who have tied up with vehicle manufacturers and their authorised dealers for supply of HSRP for the new vehicles, even for the old vehicles, and thereby denying opportunity for all other HSRP manufacturers possessing TAC from the government’s certifying agencies.
The court did not think it appropriate to stay the August 17 notification itself, primarily because it would impact the process of fixation of HSRP to around two crore old vehicles registered prior to April 1, 2019, in the State as HSRP scheme is aimed at reducing vehicle-borne crimes, identification of all vehicles plying on the road and in prevention of tampering and counterfeiting.
“While considering the prayer for stay of the operation of the impugned notification, if on one hand the reasons for implementation of HSRP scheme is to be examined, on the other hand, this court must also ensure that the license plate manufacturers with appropriate authorisation are not completely excluded from the process of implementation of HSRP scheme for the old vehicles,” the court observed.
Also, the court said that petitioners and similarly placed HSRP manufacturers possessing TAC must have reasonable opportunity to participate in the process of implementation of HSRP with the approval of the vehicle manufacturers subject to the outcome of the petitions.
Meanwhile, the court also noted from the government’s submissions that timeline of 90 days period (from August 18 to November 17) provided to fix HSRP for all the two crore old vehicles is dynamic, and the timeline could be revisited depending on the exigencies as they emerge.