Civil Court rules banning private vehicles for uncertified roadworthiness is illegal

The Civil Court ruled last week that only vehicles used at construction sites and for public transport could be banned from use by the Maldives Transport Authority for expired or uncertified roadworthiness.

The judgment was delivered in a case filed by lawyer Idhuham Muiz contesting the legality of the Maldives Transport Authority – under the remit of the Transport Ministry – banning privately-owned vehicles for not being certified for roadworthiness within a set period after registration or expiration.

Muiz argued that the transport authority’s actions violated the Land Vehicles Act of 2009, which specified that banning vehicles for failing to meet driving safety standards applied only to those used at construction sites and for public transport.

“As these purposes are expressed in the law, use of registered or newly registered vehicles with roadworthiness either expired or uncertified within the period set by the [transport authority] could only be banned for these two purposes,” the Civil Court judgment reads.

Judge Mariyam Nihiyath ruled that owners of vehicles banned by the authority should be compensated.

Former Attorney General Husnu Suood meanwhile told Sun Online that police could no longer fine owners for driving vehicles with uncertified roadworthiness.

Moreover, individuals on whom the now-illegal fines were imposed could sue for compensation.

Owners found to be driving vehicles with either expired or no roadworthiness certificates are fined and have their licenses withheld by police.