Toll Tax is exempted for Defence personnel ?
Toll Tax is exempted for defence personnel… it is well known to all. Toll Tax exemption for defene personnel is a disputed matter as we all know. Some tool operators allowed us to avail the free movement and some are not agreed. You must heard somewhere that defence personnel are exempted from paying toll tax but in practical you have not been allowed to proceed in private vehicles without paying toll tax many times at the toll plazas even when you are ready to show your Identity Card. But the reality is different. In this article the doubts on this regard will be cleared.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has clearly expressed that exemption from payment of toll on national highways to defence personnel is available only when they are On Duty. Exemption of toll tax is available if a soldier travels in a Service vehicle while on duty. So exemption of toll tax for retired defence personnel is absolutely not feasible.
As per rules User fee exemption on the NH fee plaza is available to defence personnel as per Rule 11 Sub Rule b(i) of the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 as amended. Further, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways vide their OM dated June 17, 2014 which has clarified that exemption under Indian Toll (Army and Air Force) Act, 1901. As per this act, the exemption is available only to the persons who are ‘on duty’ and does definitely not for retired personnel. However the exemption is available only on production of pass as specified in the Indian Toll (Army and Air Force) Rules, 1942. The Defence HQ (AHQ) has also cleared that Armed Forces people only on official duties in official vehicles are exempted from paying toll tax.
So may RTI applications have been received by the NHAI authority where they have clarified that numerous complaints raised recently where defence personnel have not been allowed to proceed in private vehicles without paying toll by the personnel manning the toll plazas even when they produced their identity cards. Some instructions in this regard which is contradictory in nature issued at several toll plazas in some states wherein in some instances the defence personnel are allowed to proceed in their private vehicles upon production of identity cards. In other hands in most of the states the defence personnel while in private vehicle are not allowed exemption. So may incidents have been noticed by the administration in various states that Army officers were assaulted by toll personnel following argument.
Rules and Regulations of Toll Tax exemption for Army Navy Air Force personnel
It has been interpreted in another way by the experts of defence matters that Section 3(a) and 3(b) is sufficient to determine the eligibility to get exemption from paying toll tax. The provision exist in para 3(a) of the Indian Tolls (Army & Air Force) Act, 1901, provides toll exemption to all personnel of the Regular Forces without the requirement of being on duty whereas Section 3 (b) provides toll exemption to TA & NCC personnel when on duty. The requirement of Duty may not be applicable to personnel of the regular forces but only applicable to TA and NCC. This was also clarified by the MoRTH and Law Ministry on 12th November, 2003.
So, the subsequently issued any letter with reference to reply on RTI application cannot hence override legislative provisions of the Act as opined by the experts referring to the June 2014 letter of NHAI.
In the RTI replies to the questions seeking a copy of policy letters which have clearly defines the eligibility to get exemption from paying toll tax where defence personnel in terms of “on duty” or “off duty” as well and any policy direction regarding exemption from FASTags. The High Way authority NHAI has referred the letter of 2014 on the issue.
Is all Armed Fores Personnel whether they are on duty or not are exempted from Toll Tax ?
Now Come to the Conclusion. Is the Toll tax exempted for Serving soldiers and Exservicemen ?
Yes, they are completely exempted.
- As per NHAI policy Letter no NHAI/11013/IT/HO/2017 dated 06 Dec 2017, armed force personnel do not need to prove that they are on duty considering the extreme sacrifices of Armed Forces to the nation. This policy letter also mentions that due respect including a salute to be given to the forces as deemed fit as they deserve it.
- As per section 3 of Army and Airforce Act 1901 (Tolls) whether they are on duty or not and it is extended to even hired vehicle i.e. taxi or personal vehicles.
Authority on the subject are :
- NHAI policy Letter no NHAI/11013/IT/HO/2017 dated 06 Dec 2017
- Min of road transport and highways (MoRTH) letter no. H-24030/32/2014(Toll) dated 17 June 2014
- NHAI letter No. NHAI/13013/267/CMD-CO/05–06/RTI-16 dated 04 Dec 2006
- MoRTH letter no NHAI-11065–12–2003-P&M dated 15 Sep 2004
- National Highway authority of India (Min of Road Transport and Highway) letter No. NHA/CMU/GM off/Exemp Toll Tax/C2/D-1166 dt 27 Nov 2003
- Indian Tolls (Army and Airforce) Rules 1942 are also authority on the subject.
- Section 3 of Army and Airforce Act 1901 (Tolls)
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