Payment of toll tax by army personnel
Sub: Clarification regarding Indian Tolls Act (Army and AF) 1901 As per Indian Tolls Act (Army and AF) 1901 and Indian Tolls (Army and AF) Rules 1942, Indian Army personnel are exempted from paying tolls at any of the Highway toll booths. Also, as per subject section 3(h) of Indian Tolls Act 1901, all carriages accompanying an officer of army is also exempted from such tolls. It doesn't mention private or public carriage and hence both must be eligible for exemption. Also as per para 2 of Indian Tolls Rules 1942, pass is required only for those who are not mentioned in para 3 (para 3 mentions Officers, soldiers and Airmen). Hence no pass shall be required as per Indian Tolls Rules 1942 for any Officer of the army. The same has been clearly brought out by department of road transport and Highways letter no NO.NH- 11065/12/2003 -P&M dated 05 Sep 2004. However, in recent times a letter has been disseminated to all toll booths by ministry of road transport and Highways which states that the exemption is not applicable to personal vehicles if it is not used for any official purpose or duty. Also, to avail an exemption it "Clarifies the requirement of a pass from all concerned". I need clarification for the following: 1. The Indian Tolls Act does not say the requirement for any person mentioned in sub para 3 (a) to be on duty. However it does mention so specifically for those mentioned in sub para 3 (B). Hence doesn't it imply that those mentioned in sub para 3 (a) are exempted tolls all the time? 2. How does one 'Prove' that he is on duty. As per Army service rules, even Casual Leave is considered as "On Duty". Also, a person can be asked to perform a "temporary duty" even when he is on " annual leave". 3. What shall be the next course of action against the said letter which by itself goes against both Army Tolls Act and Rules. Thank you Kiruthi Murugan B 7598512100
Section 7 of the Indian Tolls Act, 1901 provides that "the Central Government may make rules providing for the form of passes to be given to persons or bodies of persons or in respect of property entitled to exemption from the payment of tolls under this Act." Thus, a requirement of the pass is not against the Act. 1. The interpretation you suggest is plausible, however there is no reported case law interpreting the provision this way. 2. There is no jurisprudence with respect to the interpretation of "on duty" for the purposes of the Act. If as per Army Service Rules casual leave equals "on duty", and "temporary duty" is also a possibility these periods can fall within the definition of "on duty" under the rules, and you can argue accordingly. Though, you can request a clarification in this respect from the concerned officials in your service. Alternatively, you can continue to interpret the provision as you suggested, and wait for the relevant toll authority to take the matter to courts.
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