M.Palanimuthu vs The Regional Transport Officer on 27 October, 2010

Madras High Court
M.Palanimuthu vs The Regional Transport Officer on 27 October, 2010
       

  

  

 
 
 BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED: 27/10/2010

CORAM
THE HONOURABLE Mr.JUSTICE K.CHANDRU

Writ Petition (MD)No.6115 of 2008
and
W.P.(MD) No.1 of 2008

M.Palanimuthu			 	...	Petitioner

Vs.

The Regional Transport Officer,
(Madurai North),
The Regional Transport Office,
Madurai.			 	...	Respondent

Prayer

Writ Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India
praying for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, to call for the
records from the respondent relating to the order of the respondent in
Se.Mu.Aa.No.44506/A4/2008 dated 07.07.2008, quash the same and consequently
direct the respondent to return the driving license of the petitioner to him.

!For Petitioner	... Mr.S.Arunachalam
^For Respondent	... Mr.S.C.Herold Singh
		    Government Advocate

:ORDER

The petitioner was a driver under the Tamil Nadu State Transport
Corporation. On 01.06.2008, when he was driving the bus between
Thirupparankundram and Mahatma Gandhi Nagar, the bus met with an accident near
Gorippalayam. Due to the accident, the rider of the two wheeler succumbed to
the injuries and subsequently died. Therefore, a case under Section 304-A of
IPC was registered against the petitioner and investigation was conducted by the
Traffic Investigation Branch II, Tallakulam. The petitioner had applied for
bail, but, however, in view of the criminal investigation, his driving licence
was seized by the Traffic Police.

2.Aggrieved by the seizure of the Traffic Police, the petitioner filed
W.P.(MD)No.5099 of 2008, seeking for return of the driving license. This Court
disposed of the Writ petition by an order dated 20.06.2008. While disposing the
Writ petition, this Court held that under Section 19(1) of the Motor Vehicle
Act, the licensing authority has got power to suspend the licence after
conducting an enquiry. Accordingly, the licence was returned to the petitioner.

3.However, a show-cause notice dated 02.07.2008 was issued to the
petitioner, as to why his driving licence should not be suspended. In the very
show-cause notice it was alleged that the petitioner while driving the bus had
caused the accident and the death of the rider of the two wheeler was also
mentioned. The report of the Inspector of Police, Madurai (North) was also
referred to. The petitioner gave his reply dated 04.07.2008 stating that he was
not responsible for the accident and the criminal case is not over.
Notwithstanding his request for copies of the report, the impugned order came to
be passed.

4.In the impugned order, it was stated that the petitioner was involved in
a criminal case in Crime No.131 of 2008 and the Motor Vehicle Inspector had
recommended the suspending of his licence due to the accident caused by him
which had resulted in the death of a passenger. Therefore, he invoked powers
under Section 19(1)(c) and the petitioner’s licence was suspended from
07.07.2008 to 06.01.2009. It is this order which is under challenge in this Writ
petition.

5.Notice of motion was ordered on 15.07.2008 and interim stay was granted
for a period of four weeks. Subsequently, the same was not extended.

6.Mr.S.Arunachalam, learned counsel for the petitioner contented that the
order was a mechanical order and was written in a cyclostyled form. Therefore,
there was no application of mind. This Court is unable to accept the submission
made by the learned counsel for the petitioner. While the petitioner had
applied for the return of licence a positive order was passed by this Court.
The power to suspend a licence is derived from Section 19(1). If a vehicle was
involved in an accident either before or for the very same accident then the
power is available to the authority to suspend the licence for a limited period.

7.In the present case, the only requirement as held by this Court earlier
was that the petitioner should be heard before passing the order. Accordingly,
a show-cause notice was given. It is not the case of the petitioner that the
vehicle was not involved in the accident, which resulted in a criminal case. It
is suffice under Section 19(1)(c) of the Motor Vehicles Act, if the vehicle is
used for commission of a cognizable offence or any action has been committed
which is danger to the public, then the power of the authority to intact for
ordering of suspension. Even under the relevant rules there is an appeal to the
Appellate Authority. The petitioner did not excise that option. Even
otherwise, this Court is not inclined to entertain the Writ petition.

8.In this context, it is necessary to refer a recent judgment this Court
in W.P.Nos.18042 & 18490 of 2010 (A.Sekar Vs. The Regional Transport Officer,
Thiruppur South), wherein this Court had emphasised that the need for the
authority to take a prompt action under Section 19(1) in view of the alarming
increase of road accidents and the statistics furnished for the year 2009
clearly showed that 90% of the accidents had occurred due to driver’s
negligence.

9.Hence, this Court is not inclined to entertain the Writ petition.
Accordingly, the Writ petition stands dismissed. Consequently, connected
miscellaneous petition stands closed. However, there shall be no order as to
costs.

ps/nbj

To
The Regional Transport Officer,
(Madurai North),
The Regional Transport Office,
Madurai.

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