Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 25
A driver holding a licence to drive a light motor vehicle can drive a transport vehicle of such class without any endorsement to that effect, the Supreme Court has ruled.
In an important verdict on the Motor Vehicles Act and related rules, a three-judge Bench of Justice Amitava Roy, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul held there was no requirement to obtain separate endorsement to drive a transport vehicle.
“When a driver is authorised to drive a vehicle, he can drive it irrespective of the fact whether it is used for a private purpose or for purpose of hire or reward or for carrying the goods in the said vehicle. It is what is intended by the provision of the Act, and the Amendment Act 54/1994,” the three-judge Bench said.
The matter was referred to the three-judge Bench as there were “certain inconsistencies in some of the judgments”. Now, the ruling settles the legal position on the issue.
“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,” the top court said clarifying the definition of “light motor vehicle” under Section 2(21) of the MV Act.
It said, “A transport vehicle and omnibus, the gross vehicle weight of either of which does not exceed 7,500 kg would be a light motor vehicle and also motor car or tractor or a road roller, ‘unladen weight’ of which does not exceed 7,500 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 7,500 kg or a motor car or tractor or road-roller, the “unladen weight” of which does not exceed 7,500 kg.
“That is to say, no separate endorsement on the licence is required to drive a transport vehicle of 60 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, the top court said.
The three-judge Bench said the 1994 amendments which came into effect on November 14 of that year did not exclude transport vehicles from the purview of section 10(2)(d) and section 2(41) of the Act i.e. light motor vehicle.
On the effect of amendment of Form 4 that inserted expression “transport vehicle”, the apex court clarified that it 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” continued to be the same as it was and had not been changed.
There was no requirement to obtain a separate endorsement to drive transport vehicle, and if a driver was holding a licence to drive a light motor vehicle, he/she can drive transport vehicle of such class without any endorsement to that effect, the top court said.
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