In a momentous decision, the High Court of Delhi has passed a new rule: the recently seized “end-of-life” cars should be released to their owners. However, the court’s ruling added that the release would only happen when the owners of these seized vehicles sign an undertaking that they will not use these cars within the city limits. The Delhi High Court added that these released vehicles should be parked permanently in private spaces or taken out of the city limits to avoid further seizure.
According to reports, the Delhi High Court passed this ruling after hearing a case in which it received thousands of petitions from the owners of such “end-of-life” vehicles. The petitioners, in their petitions, challenged the Government of Delhi’s policy that allowed the seizure of petrol vehicles older than 15 years and diesel vehicles older than 10 years. According to the petitioners, this rule violated their right to property.
While hearing the case, Justice Prateek Jalan of the Delhi HC said, “The petitioners’ grievances can be balanced with the implementation of the orders of the NGT and Supreme Court by directing the release of the vehicles to owners subject to an undertaking to remove the vehicle from the territory of NCT of Delhi and not to ply/park them in public spaces within the NCT of Delhi.”
The court further stated in its decision that the owners of these released vehicles would have to prove that they own or lease private space for parking cars. The court clarified and added that the undertaking to the transport department would specify that the “vehicles shall be towed or transported to the border of the NCT of Delhi for removal, and that when the vehicle is registered in Delhi, the petitioner may apply for an NOC for transferring the vehicle outside Delhi.” Justice Prateek Jalan added that “Any breach of the undertaking by the owners would invite action from the court.”
In other news, the recently appointed Delhi Transport Minister, Kailash Gahlot, also instructed the transport department to halt the seizure and scrapping of parked vehicles that aren’t currently being used by the owners within the city limits. The minister stated that the actions being taken by the transport department have not been approved by the government and are invasive in nature.
Kailash Gahlot also recently wrote a letter to the transport department and stated, “It is unfortunate that the department continues with its drive to seize and subsequently scrap vehicles that are parked on the roads… The learned counsel has raised serious concerns brought up by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in various writ petitions filed by the affected vehicle owners whose vehicles have been seized by the enforcement team of the transport department.”
In reply to the above statement, an official from the transport department, who remains anonymous, stated that their actions have been taken in accordance with NGT orders. The official further added, “We are only following due process, and vehicles that have been seized have already been deregistered by the government as end-of-life vehicles.”