A driver holding an LMV licence does not need separate endorsement to drive any vehicle of such weight class: High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

A driver holding a Light Motor Vehicle licence does not need any separate endorsement to drive any type of transport vehicle that is within this weight class. This was upheld by a bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court consisting of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul in the case of National Insurance Company Ltd. v Aijaz Ahmad Shah [Mac. App No. 49/2020, CM No. 3774/2020] on 22nd June 2021.

On 9th August 2015, an accident was caused by rash and negligent driving by an offending Tata Mazda car, which was insured with the appellant National Insurance Co. Ltd. Aksa Aijaza 14 year old child who was boarding another vehicle on the side of the road, died as a result of the accident. The victim’s family who are the respondents in this case, prayed for the grant of compensation in the amount of Rs.1 crore before Motor Accident Claims Tribunal for the loss they suffered. The Tribunal found that the claimants were entitled to a compensation amount of Rs. 11,30,010 along with 6% interest per annum from the insurance company till realization. The appellants immediately took the matter to the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.

The appellant contended that the offending driver had a LMV driving licence which only authorised him to drive a Light Motor Vehicle and not a transport vehicle that would require a PSV endorsement.  The appellants thus stated that the offending driver’s licence should be considered as invalid and the insurance company should not have to pay the compensation granted to the victim. The High Court cited the case of Mukund Dewangan v Oriental Insurance Company Limited [4 SCC 298 of 2016], where the Supreme Court of India declared that if a driver holds a licence to drive a light motor vehicle, he is authorised to drive any transport vehicle belonging to that weight class without any separate endorsement. It was found that the offending vehicle in this case weighed less than 7500kg which fell in the weight class of light motor vehicle.

The court concluded that “In view of the above reproduced excerpt of the judgement in Mukund Dewangan, there is no substance in the submission of learned counsel for appellant qua validity of driving licence of offending vehicle. The Tribunal has rightly decided Issue no.3 against appellant Insurance Company”. Thus it was declared that the impugned award need not be interfered with and the appeal was dismissed.

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