The Hon’ble single judge bench under Hon’ble Justice K Narendran has ordered today that all the advocates pleading on behalf of the central and state government should remove the name of their designation from the number plates of their vehicles within one week. It had been ordered earlier too that all the government employees are expected to refrain from showing their designation off in a way that might even remotely create a sense of partiality towards them in the eyes of law. The practice of such display also goes against the rules of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as “MV Act, 1988”)
Santosh Kumar, a government pleader came up with the justification that section 92A of the Kerala MV Act, 1988 permitted some officers and public pleaders to display their designation on their vehicles. To clarify this justification and come up with an action-furnished report which is comprehensive enough to convince the Hon’ble court, the pleader asked for two months, citing the pandemic situation as a justification. However, the Hon’ble Court observed that there had been instances of grave violations of traffic and other rules where government pleaders had used their designations and the display of the same as weapons to get themselves an easier way. The Hon’ble Court was not ready to take the pandemic as an excuse to wait for any more time to act upon such violations. Instead, the Hon’ble court has noted that the government pleaders have failed to abide by the earlier directions of the Hon’ble court which is already contemptuous. It has therefore directed that the Central and state governments should produce a compliance report before the Hon’ble court by the next Wednesday exhibiting that all the government pleaders have implemented the direction given by the Hon’ble court.
Hon’ble Justice Nagendran remarked that he had seen several videos being circulated on social media platforms that show people altering their nameplates in a way that they cannot be recognized. There are also instances where government employees have taken undue advantage of their nameplates and abused the laws. It is a known fact that everyone is equal before the law and that there should not be any unfair practice especially on the part of the government employees.
The government pleader has submitted that there should be a modification made to section 92A of the Kerala MV Act, 1988 so that this direction can be countered. According to him, the display of the designation on the nameplates is just for the sake of recognition and not to avail any undue or unlawful advantage, just like other professionals like doctors and private legal practitioners have the right to display the name of their professions on their vehicles. However, Hon’ble Justice Nagendran did not seem to be too convinced with the explanation and pleading and insisted on strict implementation of the direction issued by the Hon’ble High Court. The case will be heard the next Wednesday when the government will be able to submit the compliance report as expected by the Hon’ble court.