Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Supreme Court registrar using illegal number plate

Supreme Court Registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena has been using a vehicle with an illegal number plate - an offence under the Traffic and Transport Management Act, 1993 ekantipur reports.
His newly-bought Daihatsu Terios has a red number plate, meant only for private vehicles. No government vehicle can use a red number plate unless for a specified reason, and without permission from the Home Ministry.
A Post investigation has found that Dr Timalsena has been using the red plate on his vehicle, registered in the name of the Supreme Court, without permission from the Home Ministry.
Dr Timalsena has not even written to the ministry for permission as of April 23, according to records at the Home Ministry on Department of Transport Management (DoTM).
According to Clause 160 (3) of the Act, Dr Timalsena's offence is subject to punishment in terms of a fine up to Rs 1,000.
However, a concerned home ministry official, preferring to remain anonymous, said, "The offence is new and serious in nature. The vehicle must be seized and departmental action must be taken against the guilty."
Dr Timalsena, however, argued that the number plate is legal. "The vehicle is yet to be registered and the process of registration is on," he said.
But the DoTM Chief Buddha Bir Lama, showing records, said that the 3.2 million-rupee vehicle was registered on March 24. And Dr Timalsena has been using it for the last one month.
DoTM officials have also flouted the law by allowing Dr Timalsena's vehicle to have an illegal number plate.
"We faced practical difficulty in asking for a mandatory legal permission of the Home Ministry from the Supreme Court during the time of registration since we came to know that the SC Registrar was going to use the vehicle," Lama said, conceding DoTM's mistake.
Lama immediately ordered his subordinates to write an urgent letter to the Supreme Court regarding the illegal number plate. "I will first write to the SC for clarification, and then take action against the vehicle if the law is not respected," Lama said.
Besides, sources at the Supreme Court said that the Registrar's red number plate has also drawn the attention of court employees. Fearing possible misuse of court vehicle with red plates the SC Concern Committee of court staff recently demanded all the red plates be changed into white, including that of the Registrar's vehicle.
"We have changed the plates of the vehicles used by officials up to the rank of joint registrar, but our attempt to have a white plate on the Registrar's vehicle has failed," a court official said on condition of anonymity.

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