Imposition of lifetime road tax for non Karnataka motor vehicles declared unconstitutional by DB

Karnataka High Court: While hearing a challenge to the decision of the Karnataka High Court in Jagadev Biradar v. State of Karnataka, 2016 SCC OnLine Kar 455, wherein the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Act, 2014 imposing lifetime road tax for non Karnataka motor vehicles which remained in the State of Karnataka upto 12 months was declared unconstitutional, the Division Bench of Jayant Patel and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ., upheld the aforementioned decision of the Single Bench of Anand Byrareddy, J.

The respondents who were the residents of cities like Pune, Trissur etc were aggrieved that their vehicles were intercepted and seized inside Karnataka where the authorities demanded lifetime road tax under Section 3, Explanation 2 of the Amendment Act. Their contention was that their vehicles having been registered under Section 40 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, such a registration is valid and effective throughout India, as the lifetime road tax had already been paid at the time of registration of their vehicles. The State however had argued that it had the legislative competence to pass the impugned legislation in line with Mahesh C. Gandhi v. Deputy Commissioner for Transport, 2005 SCC OnLine Kar 405.

Perusing the contentions of the parties and the rationale given by the learned Single Judge, the Division Bench held that Explanation 2 for Section 3(1) of the impugned amending Act is ultra vires Section 47 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and Article 246 (3) of the Constitution, for by subjecting the non Karnataka motor vehicles plying on the State roads from 31 days to 12 months to lifetime tax, the impugned Explanation was seeking to achieve an object contrary to the ratio laid down in Mahesh Gandhi case, which was decided in sync with Section 47 of the Motor Vehicle Act, which is a Central enactment. [State of Karnataka v. Jagdev Biradar, Writ Appeal No. 850/2016, decided on 01.07.2016]


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