The Ambassador car belonging to Ranjit Malhotra of Chandigarh | By special arrangement
The Ambassador car belonging to Ranjit Malhotra of Chandigarh | By special arrangement
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New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Chandigarh administration to register an ambassador car painted with artwork after authorities refused to do so.

Justice Jaishree Thakur passed the order Tuesday while hearing a petition by Chandigarh-based lawyer Ranjit Malhotra seeking directions to register his Ambassador Grand Harit-C-1800 (BSIII), a 2009 model, in his name.

Pointing out other instances of slogans being painted and stickers plastered over vehicles, Justice Thakur said, “Any person who drives upon the GT (Grand Trunk) Road will see slogans, quotations, colourful paint job, done on back /front of the trucks that ply…from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

“Some of the standard one’s are ‘OK TATA’, ‘Horn Please’, ‘Hum Do Hamare Do’, ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’, and ‘Use Dipper at Night’, etc. The trucks are beautifully decorated with artwork done on some panel or the other.”

The court noted, “Apart from that, cars too are plying with stickers plastered all over them of various countries that the owners have travelled to, the most common one being ‘I LOVE NEW YORK’. Bumper stickers are put on cars, stickers which show a picture of a baby in the car, which reads as ‘Baby on Board’ can regularly be seen.”

Also read: What colour is God’s skin, asks Punjab & Haryana HC, calls for ending racial discrimination

‘Like a canvas with a spray of flowers’

According to the judgment, Malhotra bought the car last year from a counsellor of the European Union who is posted in Delhi. The main reason behind purchasing the car, the order said, was the art work done on it by renowned Mexican artist Senkoe.

Malhotra had obtained a no-objection certificate from the registering authorities in Delhi and completed other formalities. But the Chandigarh administration refused to register the car, saying that it had been changed to a “multicolour (ed)” vehicle from “white”.

Referring to section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), which bars any change in the structure of a vehicle, the transport department had said that changing the car’s colour was equivalent to altering its original specification.

Malhotra had then approached the high court, pointing out that the car’s colour had not been changed and its background still remains the same. Only the vehicle’s body has been partly painted on.

He also said that he could neither insure the ambassador nor drive it because of his inability to register the vehicle.

The petitioner drew the court’s attention to cars used by the JW Marriot Hotel in Delhi, with the face of famous painter Salvador Dali spray-painted on them.

Allowing his petition, the court then ruled that the car’s base colour was still white. The art work did not change the basic structure or altered it in violation of MVA section 52, the court noted.

“The reason for denying registration merely on the ground that there is art work done on the body of the vehicle, where the base remains white, defies logic,” the court observed.

It added, “Any reasonable person can easily make out that a white car had some art work done upon it. Like a canvas with a spray of flowers. The base colour of the canvas would remain as it is.”

The court later directed authorities to register the car within two weeks.

Also read: Delhi HC orders Crime Branch inquiry against city doctor who ‘helps prisoners get bail’


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  1. The fact that our system is dumb enough to let such a trivial matter go to High court shows the extremely unfavorable non citizen centric approach of India’s bureaucracy. HC should have fined the transport dept for wasting tax payers money.

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