In a judgment having widespread ramifications, the Rajasthan High Court has ordered the cancellation of all light motor vehicle driving licenses issued to illiterate persons.
Curiously, the order has been passed in a writ petition filed by a person seeking license to drive transport vehicle on the ground that he had been issued license to drive light motor vehicle thirteen years ago.
While considering the petition, the single bench noticed that though the petitioner was illiterate, he was granted a driving license. It expressed the opinion that Motor Vehicle Rules are required to be framed not only for the benefit of persons who seek license but also taking into consideration the public who are using the roads.
"The license cannot be allowed to be issued for driving any kind of vehicle to an illiterate person as he is virtually a menace for the pedestrians as he would not be in a position to understand road signs and notices of caution written on boards for human safety on the highways as well as on the roads in the cities", observed the bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma.
"The license of Light Motor Vehicles issued to the petitioner and similar persons also must be therefore withdrawn", ordered the Court in a two-page judgment.
The State Transport Authorities were directed to issue appropriate instructions in this regard laying down guidelines. Action should also be taken where licenses have been issued to persons who are unable to read and write, added the Court. The Government has been directed to file a compliance report within a month.
In this regard, it may be noted that the Motor Vehicles Act or the Central Motor Vehicle Rules do not prescribe any minimum educational qualification for possessing driving license for light motor vehicles. The minimum educational requirement is prescribed only for transport license, which is a pass in Class VII.
Therefore, this order impacting the lives of several persons appears to be against the statutory law. The Court also did not refer to any empirical data to support the premise that most accidents were caused by illiterate drivers.
In July 2017, the SC had held that a driver holding LMV license can drive transport vehicle of LMV category without any extra endorsement to drive transport vehicle. Withdrawal of all LMV licenses issued to illiterate persons will affect those who used to earn livelihood by plying transport vehicles of LMV category such as auto-rickshaws, cabs etc.
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