BRTA will not be able to charge advertising fees on motor vehicles

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) shall not charge any fee to the owner of the concerned transport for displaying advertisements on vehicles. However, the owner of the vehicle concerned must obtain permission from BRTA to display the advertisement.

A bench consisting of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Kazi Zeenat Haque of the High Court declared the rule of the writ filed by the owner of a business establishment to be correct and gave the verdict on Sunday (July 7).

Senior lawyer Ahsanul Karim heard on behalf of the writ in the court. And lawyer Mohammad Rafiul Islam heard on behalf of BRTA.

Section 49 (j) of the Road Transport Act-2018 regarding ‘General Instructions for Motor Vehicle Movement’ states that no advertisement shall be displayed or advertised on any motor vehicle without the approval of the Government or authorities.

In explanation of this, the Road Transport Rules-2022 states that advertisement display on motor vehicles is conditionally permitted under the rule number 122 (2) to advertise own products on motor vehicles owned by individuals or organizations, including public transport, covered vans. The annual fee for display of advertisement is fixed in number 45 of schedule-1 of these rules.

It said that the annual fee for displaying advertisements on light and three-wheeler vehicles is three thousand rupees. And the annual fee for motor vehicles other than light is Tk 5 thousand.

Lawyer Ahsanul Karim told reporters that Article 83 of the Constitution states that no tax can be levied or collected without law or authority. Though advertisement fee is not mentioned anywhere in Road Transport Act, 2018, the fee is fixed by rules. As a result, the High Court declared it inconsistent with the Constitution and inconsistent with the law. As a result, BRTA will not be able to collect any fee from the vehicle owner for displaying the advertisement. But permission must be taken from BRTA.

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Kazi Zahin Shahpar Hasan, managing director of Kazi Food Industries Limited, wrote a writ in the High Court in 2023. After the preliminary hearing, the High Court also ordered with the rule. At the end of the final hearing of that rule, the High Court ruled on Sunday.

However, BRTA’s lawyer Mohammad Rafiul Islam said that an appeal will be made to the Appellate Division against the judgment of the High Court.