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Centre Examines Driving License Law

The Centre informed the Supreme Court that a government-appointed committee had submitted a draft report on whether a person with a light motor vehicle license can also drive a transport vehicle with an unladen weight not exceeding 7,500 kilograms. The Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, granted the Centre time until April 15 to resolve the issue. If unresolved, the court will hear the pleas and deliver a verdict.

The bench, consisting of Justices Hrishikesh Roy, PS Narasimha, Pankaj Mithal, and Manoj Misra, extended the deadline for the finalization of the report to mid-February. Litigating parties are to receive copies of the report. The court scheduled directions for April 16 and a hearing starting from April 23.

Earlier, the court directed the Centre to review the legal question by January 17, emphasizing the impact on livelihoods and the need for a fresh policy perspective. The question was whether an LMV license entitles one to drive a transport vehicle below 7,500 kg unladen weight.

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The legal issue has led to disputes over insurance claims in accidents involving transport vehicles driven by those with LMV licenses. The court acknowledged the time-consuming amendment process, calling for expedited action and compliance from state governments.

The Attorney General presented the government’s holistic approach, considering a broader context instead of piecemeal amendments. The court questioned the need for legal changes and sought the AG’s guidance. The 2017 verdict in Mukund Dewangan’s case, accepted by the Centre, prompted the ongoing constitutional review.

Hearing 76 petitions, the Constitution bench explored the legal question with the lead petition from Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited. The Motor Vehicles Act’s provisions for different license categories led to the matter’s referral to a larger bench in 2022. The bench highlighted unnoticed legal aspects in the Mukund Dewangan judgment, indicating a need to reevaluate the controversy.


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