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Need some time to examine report on question if LMV licence holders can drive light transport vehicles: Centre to SC

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New Delhi, Jan 17: The Union government on Wednesday apprised the Supreme Court that it will require some time to examine the draft report prepared by a government-appointed panel on the issue whether Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) licence holders require a separate endorsement to drive a transport vehicle of LMV class.

A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud asked the Centre to resolve the issue by April 16 this year and said that if the matter remains unresolved, it will proceed to conclude the hearing and announce the verdict.

“Actually it’s a part-heard matter. We will give you (the Union government) some time and if it is not resolved at the level of government, we will proceed to hear the matter and lay down the law. Ultimately if the Parliament thereafter wants to intervene it can always do so since it is a statutory interpretation,” CJI Chandrachud told Attorney General (AG) R. Venkataramani, the highest law officer of the Centre.

The 5-judge bench, also comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy, P.S. Narasimha, Pankaj Mithal, and Manoj Misra, said that it expects the draft report to be finalised within a period of three weeks and asked AG Venkataramani to place a copy of the final report on record by mid-February.

The matter will be taken up for directions on April 16, 2024.

In November 2023, the top court had asked the Centre to lay down a clear roadmap by the next date of listing saying that it would not adjourn the proceedings sine die (indefinitely) as the issue needs to be resolved at some point of time.

The Supreme Court had clarified that during the pendency of proceedings before the five-judge bench, cases pending before different tribunals and courts across the country will be determined in accordance with the 2017 Mukund Dewangan dictum.

The 2017 Mukund Dewangan judgment had held that the need of transport licence would arise in case of medium/heavy goods and passenger vehicles only, adding that no other vehicle will require any separate endorsement, even if they are used for commercial purposes.

In March 2022, a bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit (now retired) held that certain provisions of Motor Vehicles Act were not noticed by the top court in its 2017 Mukund Dewangan’s decision and the issue needs to be re-visited by a five-judge Constitution Bench.

IANS

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