Vehicles of President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, and other constitutional authorities like Governors and Lieutenant-Governors will display registration-numbers and not the State Emblem of India, said government.
Vehicles of these authorities and those used by External Affairs Ministry's protocol-division to transport foreign dignitaries don't display registration-numbers, violating Motor Vehicle Act.
The move's aimed at abolishing special treatment for VIP vehicles.
Vehicles of VIPs should display registration numbers: Government
Activist group demands action against VIPs for violating MVA
The government's decision follows a petition filed in the Delhi HC by activist group Nyayabhoomi regarding the vehicles of top constitutional authorities not displaying registration numbers, violating the Section 41(6) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Last year, Delhi HC bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Hari Shankar sought a response from Centre and Delhi Government on the issue.
MVA Section 41(6)
Not displaying registration number, violation of MVA Section 41(6)
The 1988 Motor Vehicle Act's Section-41(6) states: "The registering authority shall assign to the vehicle, for display thereon, a distinguishing mark (registration-number)."
The "distinguishing mark" should contain letters and figures "allotted to the state by the central government."
It must be "displayed and shown on the motor vehicle in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed by the central government."
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Government's second move to remove special treatment for VIPs
The government wants the vehicles of top constitutional authorities and dignitaries to display the registration numbers. PM Narendra Modi's vehicle already has the registration plate with its number.
This is the government's second move for ending the "VIP culture" on the Indian roads. In 2017, the government banned VIP vehicles, including those used by PM Modi, from sporting red beacons.
Ministry asks constitutional authorities to display vehicle registration numbers
On 2 January, in a memo issued to President Kovind's Secretary Sanjay Kothari, Road Transport and Highways Ministry requested him to ensure that all the vehicles used by Rashtrapati Bhawan display their registration marks.
Similar memos were sent to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu's Secretary IV Subba Rao, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, and principal secretaries/secretaries to Governors and Lieutenant-Governors of all states and union territories.
President Kovind's vehicle to comply with all rules
President Kovind's Press Secretary Ashok Malik has stated, "The President's vehicle will comply with all rules."
The only special treatment currently granted to around 25 categories of VIPs in India is an exemption from toll collection on state/national highways. Such VIPs include the President, Vice-President, Cabinet Ministers, Governors, Members of Parliament, Chief Ministers, the Chief Justice of India, judges, legislators, and secretary-rank officers.
Some VIP vehicles not even registered
Some senior government officials said Road Transport Ministry initially wanted to exempt vehicles of constitutional authorities from MVA requirements, but the idea was later scrapped. Surprisingly, the officials also revealed that some vehicles used by the President and Vice-President are not even registered.