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Court rejects petition against tourist operators

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed at the admission stage a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the State Government and the State Transport Authority against a judgment of the Kerala High Court quashing as illegal an amendment in the Kerala Motor Vehicles (KMV) Rules delegating powers to the Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) to grant tourist permits.

<167,0p,1>A Bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan dismissed the SLP, which contended that the power of theState Transport Authority to grant tourists permits could be delegated to the RTOs in Kerala and that the amendment to the relevant rules was legal.

<167,0p,1>The High Court by its order dated September 28, 2004 had held that the amendment to the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules was illegal and ultra vires of the Motor Vehicles Act.

<167,0p,1>Senior counsel, K. Radhakrishnan, appearing for the All Kerala Tourist Taxi Association contended that as per the statute, the power to grant tourist permits was vested with the State Transport Authority and such a power could not be delegated to RTOs because neither the Motor Vehicles Act nor the Central Motor Vehicles Rules authorised such a delegation and in no other State such a delegation existed.

<167,0p,1>With the dismissal of the SLP, the tourist permits in Kerala could be granted and renewed only by the State Transport Authority, Kerala and the RTOs would not have any authority in this matter.

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