• Change of ownership of vehicle - current owner unknown

Respected Sir / Madam,

I sold a vehicle in 2008 through a sale letter with 1 rupee revenue stamp on it (signature of seller, buyer & two witnesses). Later I came to know that the vehicle caused an accident and as per motor vehicle department details, I'm still the owner.

Now I'm facing a fine of 1,40,000 to be payed in a week.

I am worried that in future, similar things will happen again (as per the motor vehicle department details, I still am the owner of the vehicle) and I can not track the current owner of the bike.

What can I do to solve this ?
Asked 9 months ago in Property Law from Kottayam, Kerala
Religion: Hindu
1. Apply in the motor vehicles department to change the name of the present owner with that of yourself.
2.You can avoid this fine as well if you inform the MV department about the change of ownership in writing.
Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
5181 Answers
54 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
As a citizen of India it is your duty to be on the right side of the law. You sold the vehicle in 2008 and yet till now you have not intimated to the jurisdictional R.T.O of the sale. You should have collected the complete details of the purchaser, if you are still unable to trace the buyer, intimate loss of the vehicle to the police station and ask them to trace out the vehicle and its current owner.
Once you find the vehicle and its current owner, put him before the court to make the payment of Rs.1,40,000/- that is being demanded now from you.
Kiran N. Murthy
Advocate, Bangalore
765 Answers
50 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1 “It is the responsibility of the transferor to make sure that the vehicle registration has been changed in the name of the transferee,

2) According to the Indian Motor Vehicle (IMV) Act 50, the transferor has to intimate the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) within 14 days of the transfer of ownership. Similarly the Act also instructs the transferee to inform the RTO about the change in vehicle ownership and produce all the required documents within 30 days of the transfer.

3) . The transferor is required to fill Form 29 while the transferee is required to fill in the Form 30, 

4) if vehicle is involved in major accident owner whose nane is reflected in RC book would be held liable 

5) you can inform the RTO about sale  of vehicle by you by letter sent by regd post AD 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23155 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
public notice can be published in at least one or two prominent local dailies of the city where the buyer resides, citing the non-transfer of ownership and explicitly stating that "the seller shall in no way whatsoever be responsible for any misdeeds,unlawful activities or any acts of omission or commission with the motor vehicle (state make, model,type of body,registration number, engine and chassis nos.)by the buyer or any other person who directly or indirectly uses the motor vehicle for such misdeeds,unlawful activities or any acts of omission or commission. The liability of such misdeeds,unlawful activities or any acts of omission or commission shall solely rest with the buyer of the motor vehicle."
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23155 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1) you are still the owner of vehicle as it has not been transferred in name of purchaser 

2) lodge police complaint that purchaser  is not transferring vehicle in his name in spite of you having sold the vehicle to him and you apprehend car may be used for terrorist activities .

3) also inform RTO that yiu had sold and enclose copy of delivery note received by you and proof of payments received by you . 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23155 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
You have given incomplete details. You said that the vehicle is not traceable. If the vehicle is not traceable, then who (which department/court) asked you to pay the above said Rs. 1,40,000/-.  Normally, a person who injured or died in the accident caused by the vehicle (in your name), then that injured or the legal representatives will file a case (OP) in the civil court.  If there is no insurance, then the court will order the owner of the vehicle to pay the compensation, medical, suffering, legal expenses etc to the injured/dead person. 

Unless the FIR is booked, the court will not take the case on record.  If you go to the court you will get the entire details of the case.  As you are the interested party, you can file third party petition in the court and obtain all certified copies from the court i.e. FIR, Charge sheet, OP copy, OP No, date of the case, stage of the case, how much claimed in the OP, details of the defacto complainant, details of the accused, Place of offence, Vehicle no. involved in the accident, address of the defacto complainant and accused.  

You said that the court has not considered your letter.  In that situation, you have to pay the above amount of Rs. 1,40,000/- into the court.  If you are poor, you can ask the court for installments one or two years.  

Later, you have to file a civil suit against the purchaser of the vehicle by showing the above  payment, the said stamped letter, any witnesses present at the time of transactions, e-challans paid by the purchaser, 3rd party insurance or full insurance applied by the purchaser, the purchaser might have given the vehicle for service in any authorised service center near to his house, collect the proof.  Collect the evidence of any neighbours of the purchaser that he used to drive the vehicle etc.  You will get your amount along with damages and interest. 
Ravinder Pasula
Advocate, Hyderabad
316 Answers
68 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
1) you should use exact language mentioned by me in the public notice 

2) if you pay the fine then file case against the purchaser 

3) the documents in your possession would be admissible as evidence
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23155 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. The original owner (Transferer) who is selling the vehicle, must inform the transfer of ownership to the RTO with which the vehicle was registered, by sending a letter with information about the new owner (Transferee) within a period of 14 days through registered post with A/D. More particularly, Form No.29 (Notice of transfer of ownership of vehicle) and "Form No.30" (Report of transfer of ownership of vehicle) are to be furnished. It may work as defense in need but you can not avoid any action by a third party unless the ownership is changed and substituted. 

2. On receiving an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter from the RTO, the seller (Transferer) is indemnified of all legal, tax, traffic, criminal and other liabilities pertaining to the vehicle.

3. Failure to give the notice required to be given u/s 50 of the M.V. Act, then u/s 177 you are liable to penalty.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18083 Answers
447 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. From the facts narrated by you, it is clear that you continue to be the legal owner of the vehicle. 

2. A complaint for theft of a vehicle which purportedly took place in 2008 is now time barred. The limitation to file the complaint is one year from the date of theft.

3. At this stage you may pay the amount and then file a lawsuit to recover the same with interest from the buyer.

4. Get the public notice drafted from a lawyer. You land yourself in trouble with your copy-paste approach.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18083 Answers
447 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Once you sold the vehicle it does not means your responsibility have finished after receiving money  and a paper with signatures of buyer / seller or witnesses. The procedure for transfer by sale of motor vehicle  and the procedure to be followed by the seller has been clearly given in section 50 of MV Act, 1988 which is reproduced herein below for your information:

Section 50 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
50. Transfer of ownership.—
(1) Where the ownership of any motor vehicle registered under this Chapter is transferred,—
(a) the transferor shall,—
(i) in the case of a vehicle registered within the same State, within fourteen days of the transfer, report the fact of transfer, in such form with such documents and in such manner, as may be prescribed by the Central Government to the registering authority within whose jurisdiction the transfer is to be effected and shall simultaneously send a copy of the said report to the transferee; and
(ii) in the case of a vehicle registered outside the State, within forty-five days of the transfer, forward to the registering authority referred to in sub-clause (i)—
(A) the no objection certificate obtained under section 48; or
(B) in a case where no such certificate has been obtained,—
(I) the receipt obtained under sub-section (2) of section 48; or
(II) the postal acknowledgment received by the transferee if he has sent an application in this behalf by registered post acknowledgment due to the registering authority referred to in section 48, together with a declaration that he has not received any communication from such authority refusing to grant such certificate or requiring him to comply with any direction subject to which such certificate may be granted;

Hence any excuse given now at this stage is nothing but ignorance of law. 
Your neighbor may be doing this mistake, your friend  or colleague or a relative may also reportedly indulge in such activities but it goes on well until there is a problem reported to that of the one you face now.
Well, even now you can proceed with the transfer of vehicle by making an application with the RTO office giving details of date of selling and to evidence the same the receipt may be produced and can state that the whereabouts of buyer is not known hence necessary relief may be granted in this regard so that you cannot be held liable for any such future incidence.
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13964 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
I know the person who bought the vehicle and caused the accident, but he sold it to someone else and I can't track the present owner. The court seems to have ruled out the 'sale letter' (with 1 rupee revenue stamp) as an apt document (that is what my lawyer informed me). So even with the owner during the time of accident as my neighbor.
In the above situation since you know the buyer very well, catch hold of him and produce him before court as witness to the transfer of vehicle by sale and let him adduce evidence that he sold the same in turn to so and so person and bring the new buyer on record to make him liable to pay the fine amount. 
This is one method that can be adopted if you would like to avoid making any payment that is required to be made.  
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13964 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. I know the person to whom I sold the vehicle, but the sale document (which is quite similar to the Form 29, but has no provision for authorization from an authority) with the revenue stamp seems to be insufficient as the transfer document.

So does that mean I still am the owner of the vehicle ?
If you can prove the sale of vehicle with the said evidence, you can try to absolve yourself from the fie amount.




2. I do NOT know who the current owner of the vehicle is & whether the vehicle is in the same state (Kerala) even. So can I file a police complaint with the details from RTO (that I'm still the owner) that the vehicle is missing ? Will the police register such a case ?

No complaint is maintainable at this stage.





3. Right now I know I have no other option than to pay the amount of 1,40,000 INR to the village office (in a couple of days). I just want to make sure that such incident never repeats, and I want to know whether a police complaint as well as a district-wide public notice will be enough to save me from future issues.

Yes, you can give a publication in two leading newspapers one in local vernacular language and another in English stating that so and so vehicle which was initially owned by you was sold to so and so on this date  but without following proper legal procedures for transfer s per MV rules and it is made ware that the said buyer had in turn sold the vehicle to another person and so and on, however  ever since the vehicle was physically sold and transferred by you, you cannot be held liable or responsible in future for any damages or accidents etc involving the said vehicle. Along with a copy f this publication, you can make a similar application to the RTO office too and  seek their advise on further relief. 





T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13964 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0

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