Mukund Dewangan vs Oriental Insurance Company Limited

 Mukund Dewangan vs Oriental Insurance Company Limited - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 - 

 

On 3rd July, 2017, in the case of Mukund Dewangan v. Oriental Insurance Company Limited [Civil Appeal No.5826 of 2011], the question for consideration was whether a driver who is having a licence to drive ‘light motor vehicle’ and is driving ‘transport vehicle’ of that class is required additionally to obtain an endorsement to drive a transport vehicle. The issued was examined keeping in view the conflict in the earlier decisions of the Supreme Court with respect to the legal position of the amendment made on 28-3-2001 in the Forms for driving licence. The amendment made in section 10 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 by virtue of Amendment Act 54 of 1994 was also examined.


 A three Judge Bench held that Section 10 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 “requires a driver to hold a licence with respect to the class of vehicles and not with respect to the type of vehicles. In one class of vehicles, there may be different kinds of vehicles. If they fall in the same class of vehicles, no separate endorsement is required to drive such vehicles. As light motor vehicle includes transport vehicle also, a holder of light motor vehicle licence can drive all the vehicles of the class including transport vehicles. It was pre-amended position as well the post-amended position of Form 4 as amended on 28.3.2001. Any other interpretation would be repugnant to the definition of “light motor vehicle” in section 2(21) and the provisions of section 10(2)(d), Rule 8 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, other provisions and also the forms which are in tune with the provisions. Even otherwise the forms never intended to exclude transport vehicles from the category of ‘light motor vehicles’ and for light motor vehicle, the validity period of such licence hold good and apply for the transport vehicle of such class also and the expression in Section 10(2)(e) of the Act ‘Transport Vehicle’ would include medium goods vehicle, medium passenger motor vehicle, heavy goods vehicle, heavy passenger motor vehicle which earlier found place in section 10(2)(e) to (h).” It was accordingly held as follows:-


“(i) ‘Light motor vehicle’ as defined in section 2(21) of the Act would include a transport vehicle as per the weight prescribed in section 2(21) read with section 2(15) and 2(48). Such transport vehicles are not excluded from the definition of the light motor vehicle by virtue of Amendment Act No.54/1994.


(ii) A transport vehicle and omnibus, the gross vehicle weight of either of which does not exceed 7500 kg. would be a light motor vehicle and also motor car or tractor or a road roller, ‘unladen weight’ of which does not exceed 7500 kg. and holder of a driving licence to drive class of “light motor vehicle” as provided in section 10(2)(d) is competent to drive a transport vehicle or omnibus, the gross vehicle weight of which does not exceed 7500 kg. or a motor car or tractor or road-roller, the “unladen weight” of which does not exceed 7500 kg. That is to say, no separate endorsement on the licence is required to drive a transport vehicle of light motor vehicle class as enumerated above. A licence issued under section 10(2)(d) continues to be valid after Amendment Act 54/1994 and 28.3.2001 in the form.


(iii) The effect of the amendment made by virtue of Act No.54/1994 w.e.f. 14.11.1994 while substituting clauses (e) to (h) of section 10(2) which contained “medium goods vehicle” in section 10(2)(e), medium passenger motor vehicle in section 10(2)(f), heavy goods vehicle in section 10(2)(g) and “heavy passenger motor vehicle” in section 10(2)(h) with expression ‘transport vehicle’ as substituted in section 10(2)(e) related only to the aforesaid substituted classes only. It does not exclude transport vehicle, from the purview of section 10(2)(d) and section 2(41) of the Act i.e. light motor vehicle.


(iv) The effect of amendment of Form 4 by insertion of “transport vehicle” is related only to the categories which were substituted in the year 1994 and the procedure to obtain driving licence for transport vehicle of class of “light motor vehicle” continues to be the same as it was and has not been changed and there is no requirement to obtain separate endorsement to drive transport vehicle, and if a driver is holding licence to drive light motor vehicle, he can drive transport vehicle of such class without any endorsement to that effect.” 

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