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Baksha Ram vs. Heena and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (12 Jul 2021)

Every driving licence, notwithstanding its expiry, continues to be effective for a period of 30 days from day of its expiry

MANU/DE/1245/2021

Motor Vehicles

Appellant (owner of the offending vehicle) impugns judgment passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal to the limited extent that, it grants recovery right to the Insurance Company i.e. Respondent No. 7 against the Appellant as well as the driver of the offending vehicle.

The Appellant submits that, the driver has already expired. The driving license of the driver was valid upto 10th November, 2014 and the subject accident took place on 5th December, 2014. He submits that, in terms of second proviso to Section 14 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the driving license continues to be effective for a period of 30 days from the date of its expiry and as such the Tribunal has erred in holding that, the driver was not holding a valid driving license at the time of the accident and there is a violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

In terms of proviso to Section 14 of Act, every driving licence, notwithstanding its expiry, continues to be effective for a period of 30 days from such expiry. Further, Section 15 (1) of the Act prescribes that, on an application being made, the licensing authority shall renew the driving license with effect from the date of its expiry, however, if an application is made more than 30 days after date of the expiry, the driving licence shall be renewed with effect from the date of its renewal.

Section 15 of the Act, in fact, reaffirms the proviso to Section 14 that the driving licence continues to remain effective for a period of 30 days from its expiry. In the present case, the accident had taken place on 5th December, 2014, which was within 30 days of the expiry of the driving licence on 10th November, 2014. Accordingly, the driving licence was effective on the date on which the accident took place. Since the driving licence continued to be effective on the date of the accident, the contention of the insurance company as noticed by the impugned order that there was a violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy is not sustainable.

The condition of the subject insurance policy is that, the driver of the vehicle should hold a valid driving licence as on the date of the accident. Since the driving licence continues to remain effective for a period of 30 days from the date of its expiry in terms of Section 14 of the Act, it cannot be held that the driver was not holding a valid driving licence as on the date of the accident.

Reference may also be had to the judgment of the Supreme Court in National Insurance Company Vs. Swaran Singh & Ors. wherein the Supreme Court has specifically held that, the proviso appended to Section 14 in unequivocal term states that, the licence remains valid for a period of 30 days from the day of its expiry. The finding returned by the tribunal that, the driver was not holding a valid driving licence at the time of accident is not sustainable and is set aside. Consequently, the right of recovery granted to the insurance company from the owner and driver of the vehicle is also set aside. The insurance company is directed to deposit the awarded amount. Appeal allowed.

Tags : RECOVERY   RIGHT   VALIDITY  

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