21 November 2022


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

SUNIL KUMAR MISHRA v. STATE

MANU/DE/0791/2020

12.03.2020

Motor Vehicles

Cancellation of driving license for all classes or description of vehicles permanently is excessive

Petitioner impugns judgment whereby the appeal of the Petitioner impugning order on conviction has been dismissed, however the order on sentence has been modified. Petitioner was convicted by the Trial Court of the offences punishable under Sections 279/304-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months for the offence under Section 279 of IPC and rigorous imprisonment for the period of 18 months under Section 304A of IPC.

The Appellate Court additionally directed that, the driving licence of the petitioner shall stand cancelled and debarred him from obtaining any driving licence throughout his life and directed that no fresh driving licence shall be issued to him. Learned counsel for the Petitioner submits that the petitioner has already undergone the entire sentence; however, he is impugning the order of the Appellate Court, in so far as it directs the cancellation of the driving licence of the Petitioner and debars him from obtaining any driving licence throughout his life.

Section 20 of of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 empowers the Court, by which a person is convicted, if he is convicted of an offence under this Act or of an offence in the commission of which a motor vehicle was used, in addition to imposing any other punishment authorised by law, to declare the person so convicted to be disqualified, for such period as the Court may specify, from holding any driving licence to drive all classes or description of vehicles, or any particular class or description of such vehicles, as are specified in such licence. The Proviso stipulates that in respect of an offence punishable under section 183 of the Act, no such order shall be made for the first or second offence.

Section 20 (3) of the Act empowers the Court, unless for special reasons to be recorded in writing to order otherwise, order the disqualification of a person who having been convicted of an offence punishable under Section 184 is again convicted of an offence punishable under that section and that the period of disqualification shall not exceed five years.

In the facts of the present case, since there is no material on record to show that Petitioner was earlier convicted of an offence under Section 184 of the Act, clearly, Sections 21 and 22 of the Act are not applicable. Both the courts have held that, the Petitioner was driving the offending vehicle i.e. truck trailer in rash and negligent manner and hit against the deceased from the back, in such a manner that it caused the death of the deceased, who was declared brought dead.

Petitioner has been convicted of an offence under section 304A of IPC i.e. causing death by rash and negligent act. Death has been caused by use of a motor-vehicle. Clearly Section 20 (1) of the Act would be attracted and the Court, in addition to imposing any other punishment authorised by law would be empowered to declare the Petitioner to be disqualified, for such period as the Court may specify, from holding any driving licence to drive all classes or description of vehicles, or any particular class or description of such vehicles, as are specified in such licence.

The Petitioner is a driver by profession and cancellation of the driving license of the Petitioner permanently and debarring him from obtaining a driving licence for life amounts to a punishment that he cannot carry out the vocation of driving throughout his life. The punishment of cancellation of the driving license permanently and debarring him from obtaining any driving license throughout his life literally amounts to his civil death because he would not be in a position to carry out his profession for life.

In the present case, the concurrent finding of both the Courts below is that Petitioner caused the death by driving the offending vehicle i.e. truck trailer, in a rash and negligent manner and hit against the deceased from the back, in such a manner that it caused the death of the deceased on the spot. Clearly, it cannot be said that the action of the Appellate Court in directing cancellation of the license driving license is unwarranted. However, in the facts of the case and particularly keeping in view the provisions of section 22 of the Act, present Court is of opinion that, cancellation of the license driving license of the petitioner for all classes or description of vehicles is excessive.

In view the facts and circumstances of the case, interest of justice would be served, in case, the sentence awarded by the Appellate Court of cancellation of the driving license of the Petitioner and debarring him from obtaining any driving license throughout his life, is modified to the extent that the driving license of the petitioner is cancelled for the class and description of medium and heavy goods and medium and heavy passenger vehicle and he is debarred from obtaining a driving licence for medium and heavy goods and medium and heavy passenger vehicle. Petition is allowed.

Tags : Driving licence Cancellation Legality

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