“Drive Without Borders”, a Facebook group have won their two-year battle against the clause in the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act mandating payment of lifetime road tax within 30 days. On Thursday, the Karnataka High Court quashed the 2014 amendment that introduced the clause.
Under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, owners of vehicles registered in one state are supposed to pay a lifetime tax when they shift to a state that is not their domicile. However, in 2014, the transport department in Karnataka ruled that it should be done within 30 days of entering the state.
According to the latest ruling, a person with a non-Karnataka vehicle can drive in the state for a year without shifting to Karnataka registration. They have to pay a lifetime tax within a year. However, if anyone fails to do so, the vehicle owner has to face the consequences and pay a fine.
Waseem Memon who had started the “Drive Without Borders” movement as a response to the 2014 amendment, had also started a petition “One Nation One Road-tax” in 2015.
Karnataka charges the highest road tax when compared to any other state in the country. The state imposes two and a half times more tax than the national average.
According to an Economic Times report, the tax on a low-cost vehicle (Rs.3-6 lakh) is around 14.43%, mid-range car (Rs.6-8 lakh) is around 15.57% and luxury cars (Rs.10-20 lakh) is 18.87%
“States amending rules made by the centre are not only confusing for citizens, but also give way to harassment,” said Waseem.
“This is plain harassment and racial discrimination of people coming from other states. There was once a case where a newly wedded woman was forced to pawn her jewellery to pay the lifetime tax three days after they entered the city,” claimed 39-year-old Waseem, who quit his job last year to focus on getting this issue solved.
Waseem started the movement in 2014 after he was asked to bring the invoice of his 1942 model jeep by the taxation department in order to change to Karnataka registration. Waseem was so frustrated that every time he moved to a different state, he bought a new car with the registration number of that particular state. He claims that he has met hundreds who’ve faced similar problems after he started the movement.