More than 400 vehicle owners are filing action in the Supreme Court against the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for refusing to register their cars. They say their fundamental rights have been violated.
The vehicle owners say they bought their vehicles from a Board of Investment-approved company that assembles cars with imported second-hand vehicle parts. The assembling is done in a factory in Minuwangoda.
The owners, who claim they are legally entitled to vehicle registration, say they are being repeatedly penalised by the Police for driving unregistered vehicles. They say the police have detained their vehicles, seized their driving licences, and even initiated court action against some of them.
The owners say the fundamental rights case application will cite the Board of Investment chairman, the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, the head of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the Director General of Customs, the Inspector General of Police, and the owner of the company that sells the vehicles.
Anthony Luke, owner of one of the unregistered cars, told the Sunday Times that he has been desperately trying to register his vehicle, without success, and that his driving licence was taken by the Police and has not yet been returned.
According to the Motor Traffic Act, which was amended in 2009, vehicles that were assembled with imported parts before the amendments were passed are legally entitled to registration. In a related development, the Police produced some of the unregistered vehicles in court, although the courts had not charged the persons with any offences.
Meanwhile, Motor Traffic Commissioner B. D. L. Dharmapriya told the Sunday Times that the vehicle registrations have been held up because of a Supreme Court ruling that the government will have to take a policy decision in the matter. “Until such time, we cannot register any of these vehicles,” he said.
The Supreme Court gave a ruling in early 2008, but the government has taken no action so far.
Harsha de Silva, owner of the private company that sells the assembled cars, told the Sunday Times that most of the vehicle owners have informed him about their plight, and that he is endeavouring to speak to the government and resolve the matter.