ISLAMABAD: The apex court has directed all the provincial governments as well as the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to consider amending the Motor Vehicle Ordinance (MVO) and relevant rules to prevent registration of vehicles used in commission of crimes.
"The provincial governments and the ICT may consider that the Motor Registration Authority and the police develop an online verification system to identify vehicles involved in the commission of crime.
“The transferor/transferee at the time of registration of the vehicle may be required to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the police or to submit an affidavit to the effect that the vehicle is not involved in any criminal case," said the Supreme Court in a written order.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah wrote the judgment while hearing a petition filed by a citizen Amjad Ali Shah for release of his alleged vehicle from possession of police.
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Shah – claiming to be the owner of the vehicle allegedly used in a crime in which he was not an accused – had earlier moved a trial court in November 2015 for release of the vehicle to him on superdari.
Superdari is handing over custody of something allegedly used in a crime to a person till next orders. The person receiving that thing – vehicle in this case – gives an undertaking on his behalf to produce the vehicle before the police or court, as and when required.
The petitioner had asserted that he was the owner of the vehicle and that if the vehicle was not handed over to him he would suffer irreparable loss. Besides, there was a probability that the vehicle might suffer damage in the possession of the police.
The trial court allowed the application for superdari vide order dated 18.12.2015 with the direction to police to hand over custody of the vehicle to the petitioner.
Meanwhile, Punjab prosecution department challenged the order in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
As the vehicle had not been released, the petitioner also filed a writ petition in the LHC praying that the police be directed to hand over the vehicle to him in compliance with the order of the trial court.
The LHC allowed the appeal of Punjab government and dismissed the writ petition filed by the petitioner through consolidated order dated October 30, 2017, on the grounds that the petitioner could not establish his ownership of the vehicle on the basis of an open transfer letter.
Later, the petitioner challenged the LHC order in the apex court.
The SC noted that the order of the trial court whereby the petitioner had been allowed superdari of the vehicle was not sustainable under the law and was, therefore, rightly set aside by the LHC.
"We uphold the impugned order, decline leave and dismiss this petition, with the above direction to the provincial governments and the ICT, the Motor Registration Authority and the police.”
It also ordered SC deputy registrar at the Lahore Registry to send copy of the order to the secretaries, excise & taxation department of all the provincial governments and ICT Excise & Taxation Department director, as well as, the inspectors general police (IGPs) “for information and appropriate action”.