September 19, 2018
Holding more than one Driving License– In this recent case, the High Court of Punjab & Haryana has held that there was no provision in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 as per which all the licences of a person holding more than one licence are to be treated as invalid.
Case name: Matan Shiv Shakti Co. Op. Tpt, Society Ltd. v. Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co.
In the present case, the owner and driver filed the present appeal against the award passed by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, whereby the respondent Insurance Company was absolved of the liability to pay the compensation and the appellants were jointly and severally liable to pay the compensation.
The Tribunal absolved the respondent insurance company from the liability to pay compensation on the ground that the driver was holding a fake driving license and later on, the driver placed on record, a second driving licence. The Tribunal held that the appellant driver could not validly hold two licences, hence, the owner and driver could not escape liability by introducing a second licence.
In appeal, the High Court of Punjab & Haryana allowed the appeal and made the following observations in the case:
- That the onus to prove that a driving licence is invalid is on the insurer. Even when the first license produced before the police was found to be fake, the insurer was bound to make verification and lead evidence to show that the second license produced before the Tribunal was also fake. On its failure to do so, it cannot escape its liability.
- Further, as one licence was held to be fake it could not be said that the driver possessed two licenses in violation of Section 6 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
- That though in terms of Section 6 of the Motor Vehicles Act, there is restriction on holding more than one licence, but no provision was pointed as per which all the licences of a person holding more than one licence are to be treated as invalid.
- That in the absence of any specific provision to that effect it may not be possible to take a view that where a person holds more than one licence, all of them have to be treated as invalid.