LMV Licence Holder Can Drive Transport Vehicle Having Gross Weight Below 7500 Kgs : Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

LMV Licence Holder Can Drive Transport Vehicle Having Gross Weight Below 7500 Kgs : Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

The driver holding a light motor vehicle licence can drive all vehicles of the class including a transport vehicle, the gross weight of which does not exceed 7500 kg

Following the 2017 SC judgment Mukund Dewangan v Oriental Insurance Company Ltd, the High Court of Kerala held that a person holding license to drive light motor vehicle(LMV) can drive transport vehicle which has less than 7500 kilograms as its gross weight, without any special authorisation.

Disposing of a batch of writ appeals filed in 2012, Justice K Surendra Mohan held :

The issue has been concluded by the decision of the Apex Court in Mukund Dewangan v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. (AIR 2017 SC 3668). In the said case also, the Supreme Court was faced with a question as to whether it was necessary for a driver holding a licence to drive a light motor vehicle to obtain an additional endorsement authorizing him to drive a transport vehicle. After an elaborate consideration of the various provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, it has been held that a light motor vehicle includes a transport vehicle as well and therefore, the driver holding a light motor vehicle licence can drive all vehicles of the class including a transport vehicle, the gross weight of which does not exceed 7500 kg

The petitioners before the HC were all holders of LMV driving licenses. They wanted to have endorsements in their driving licences authorising them to drive transport vehicles. However, the RTO authorities refused to issue them authorisation on the ground that they have not passed 8th standard. As per Motor Vehicle Rules, pass in 8th standard is a condition for having license to drive transport vehicles. Aggrieved by this condition, the petitioners approached the High Court.

In Mukund Dewangan, a three judges bench of Justices Amitava Roy, Arun Mishra and S K Kaul, answered a reference whether the definition of "light motor vehicle" under Section 2(21) of the MV Act excluded transport vehicles, and whether special authorization is required for an LMV license holder to drive transport vehicles. Answering the reference, the Court held :

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.

Applying this dictum, the HC allowed the writ petitions, "declaring that the petitioners are all entitled to drive transport vehicles also, provided the gross vehicle weight does not exceed 7500 kg"

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