Bengaluru: The Kerala Government has hiked the ‘Entry Tax’ for vehicles entering from other States and has also mandated that all Karnataka registered vehicles with all India permits to pay the entry tax for the entire year; irrespective of how many trips they make to Kerala.
As per the circular dtd: July 18th, Karnataka registered Taxi, with a capacity of 4+1 persons should now pay Rs.2,000/- per year; while, a 35 seater bus should pay Rs.4.9 lakh+cess to enter Kerala.
This decision which has surprised many after a PIL filed by Waseem Memon and others against the Government of Karnataka and Transport Department for collecting ‘Lifetime Tax’ if they use vehicles beyond 30 days in Karnataka.
Memon, had started a page ‘DRIVE WITHOUT BORDERS’ and reportedly ‘crowd funded’ the movement through his facebook page. He was supported by a majority of Car owners [mostly I.T Employees] whose cars were ‘impounded’ by Karnataka RTO. The Hon’ble High Court also quashed the demand notices sent by RTO to owners of vehicles with a non-Karnataka nameplate and staying in Karnataka for more than 30 days. Memon and others contended that the move to collect Lifetime tax from non-Karnataka vehicles amounted to “harassment”, “unreasonable” and “illegal”.
The Government Advocate had argued that the State Government had hiked the tax to ‘augment’ its revenue and regulate ‘non-Karnataka’ registered vehicles; however, their argument was not considered by the Hon’ble High court.
Now, it remains to be seen if the Memon and Co. will take the ‘legal route’ again to challenge this decision of the Kerala Government, which is highly unreasonable [especially with regards to Karnataka registered vehicles].
CRY FOUL ON INFRASTRUCTURE; SAY ‘NO’ TO TAX
Memon and co, who had challenged the move, after Karnataka RTO, headed by Shri Rame Gowda, cracked the ‘whip’ on non-KA vehicles who had failed to pay the LTT. [Life Time Tax]. The Drive Without Borders team used unscrupulous methods to avoid being ‘caught’ by Traffic Police, by updating the presence of RTO officials in their page and Whatsapp groups. The ‘crowd funded’ movement met with success after Karnataka High Court quashed the demand notices and set aside the order of Karnataka Government to collect Lifetime Tax if they were in the State for more than 30 days.
It now remains to be seen, if the DRIVE WITHOUT BORDERS team has restricted its ‘borders’ to Karnataka in general and Bengaluru in particular or will ‘challenge’ this decision in Kerala High Court.
If this decision of the Kerala government is not challenged; then the petitioners motive is highly questionable; given the fact that they want to enjoy the city’s salubrious climate and resources along with a fat ‘paycheck’ while creating supporting such movements which has no vision.
The July, 18th order of Kerala Government is indeed a huge blow to small time Travel Agencies based up in Karnataka and ply vehicles to the neighboring state of Kerala. It is highly unlikely that despite the July 18th order of Government; there is hardly any discussion the page started by Memon and co. and the group may not even write a letter to continue the ‘reciprocal agreement’ or write to reduce the entry taxes in Kerala.
It is a well established fact now that person’s/group’s with dubious objectives and ‘curtailed vision’ with strong ‘Social Media’ presence and Economic status can get justice easily by identifying ‘legal loopholes’. On the other hand, the Travel Agencies who will be losing out might not be able to make a ‘case’ out of it in this scenario.