A citizen hailing from  Punjab’s Chakwal district spent over Rs 35,000 challenging a traffic violation ticket worth Rs300 for using improper number plates on his vehicle. The challan was issued to him by the National Highway & Motorway Police (NHMP).

As per reports, the petitioner Mohammed Noman Awan had to involve a lawyer, bear his travel expenses and deposit a court fee to register a writ petition against NHMP. He has approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to withdraw that challan.

The petitioner challenged the NHMP act on the basis that there was no specific violations in the Motorway Ordinance under which vehicles on Motorway with improper/duplicate number plates was illegal.

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An official of the NHMP on February 27, 2021, had stopped Noman’s vehicle when he entered the M2 (Lahore-Islamabad) section of the Motorway from Balkasar Interchange.

Motorway official told him that he was not using specified number plates on his vehicle. However, the police official could not state the exact law under which plying of vehicles on the Motorway with such number plates was a violation.

Talking to Gulf News on Sunday, Advocate Saad Bin Safdar, the lawyer for the petitioner,  said it was not a matter of Rs 300 but it involved a substantial question of law and the petitioner had asked for the IHC’s involvement for its explanation.

“Under the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1956, only Motor Vehicle Registration Authority issues specific registration number plates that are computerised and of similar size and shape. For the motorists plying their vehicles in Punjab it is mandatory to use these plates on their vehicles. However, since Motorway falls under federal government’s jurisdiction, Punjab’s or any other province’s laws don’t apply there,” said Bin Safdar.

Moreover, he said it is the basic principle of the criminal law that no conduct may be held as criminal unless it is precisely described in a penal law in the shape of unambiguous statutory text, he said.

Justice Babar Sattar after hearing the petitioner has asked the Inspector General of the NHMP to submit a detailed reply by April 29.