Power of the state, to revoke or cancel the drivers license and to detain or seize the motor vehicle under Motor Vehicles Act 1988
law  in India

Power of the state, to revoke or cancel the drivers license and to detain or seize the motor vehicle under Motor Vehicles Act 1988

Written By:  Anup Koushik
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A state is a set of institutions that possess the authority to make the rules that govern the people in one or more societies, having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory. The state includes such institutions as the armed forces, civil service or state bureaucracy, courts, and police.
Although the term often refers broadly to all institutions of government or rule ancient and modern the modern state system bears a number of characteristics that were first consolidated in western Europe, beginning in earnest in the 15th century. Through conquest, war and revolution, the entirety of the world's inhabitable land has been divided into more than 200 sovereign states, the vast majority of which are represented in the United Nations.

The state is considered the most central concept in the study of politics, and its definition is the subject of intense scholarly debate. Political sociologists in the traditions of Karl Marx and Max Weber usually favor a broad definition that draws attention to the role of coercive apparatus. By Weber's influential definition, a state has a "monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory." The globalization of the world economy, the mobility of people and capital and the rise of many international institutions have all combined to circumscribe the freedom of action of states: however, the state remains the basic political unit of the world, as it has been since the 16th century. This state possess the power to restrain and restrict the individual for the betterment of the society.
A set of governing institutions with sovereignty over a definite territory which in real sense would mean state makes laws which regulates the Nation which designates people, for the improvement of the Country, which would mean the geographical area.

At this juncture we see that among the regulating departments of the society the most important and vulanarauble system is road transport system. An efficient transport system is essential for a modern society with a competitive economy. No economy would thrive without a sound transport system. Globalisation and current socio economic changes increase the demand for different modes of transport, particularly road transport. Therefore, efforts should be initiated to provide adequate number of vehicles of all kinds throughout the State. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the role of Transport Department (state) ends with introduction of adequate number of services on the road.

The department has to coordinate and regulate the various services on the sector to ensure hassle free and accident free travel. Besides transport system must be developed in such a way in which different modes of transport complement one another. Above all, the transport department which is the part of the state functionaries should possess certain powers to regulate this and organize the road transport system. Time has reached to impose the proper methods and precautionary methods to use road infrastructure to its optimum potential and to manage ever-growing congestion and accidents. With the above priority in mind, the Transport Department is working diligently and effectively through statutory and non- statutory schemes.

The Transport Department is headed by the Transport Commissioner and functions under the administrative control of the Home Department. The Transport Commissioner acts as the State Transport Authority also. The basic functions of The Transport Department is administering the provisions of Central Motor Vehicles Act 1988, Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989. Registration of motor vehicles, grant of permits to transport vehicles, issue of driving and conductor licenses, inspection of vehicles involved in accidents, collection of tax and fees, controlling vehicular pollution, promotion of road safety measures and other related issues connected with Transport system in the State are some of the main functions of the Transport Department.

Power source, the motor vehicles act:

From the above stated functions of the road transport department this paper would analyze and enlist the powers provided to the department to regulate the road safety, and in the process the powers provided to the state to revoke or cancel the driving license and the detention and seizer of the vehicles. Motor Vehicles Act 1988, (here after ?the act?) provides certain powers to the police to carry on the above mentioned functions effectively.

The act is the beneficial legislation covering all aspects relating to the use of motor vehicles on public places. The act has come into force with the effect from the first day of July 1989 succeeding the since repealed act of 1939. The motor vehicles Act, 1939 (4 of 1939), consolidated and amended the law relating to motor vehicles. This has been amended several times to keep it up to date. The need was; however, felt that this Act should, now inter alia, take into account also changes in the road transport technology, pattern of passenger and freight movements, developments, of the road network in the country and particularly the improved techniques in the motor vehicles management. Various Committees, like, National Transport Policy Committee, National Police Commission, Road Safety Committee, Low Powered Two Wheelers Committee, as also the Law Commission have gone into different aspects of road transport. They have recommended updating, simplification and rationalization of this law. Several Members of Parliament have also urged for comprehensive review of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, to make it relevant to the modern day requirements.

A Working Group was, therefore, constituted in January, 1984 to review all the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 and to submit draft proposals for a comprehensive legislation to replace the existing Act.

Some of the major changes in the act were:
(a) rationalization of certain definitions with additions of certain new definitions of new types of vehicles;
(b) stricter procedures relating to grant of driving licenses and the period of validity thereof;
(c) laying down of standards for the components and parts of motor vehicles;
(d) standards for anti-pollution control devices;
(e) provision for issuing fitness certificates of vehicles also by the authorised testing stations;
(f) enabling provision for updating the system of registration marks;
(g) liberalised schemes for grant of stage carriage permits on nonnationalised routes, all-India Tourist permits and also national permits for goods carriages;
(h) administration of the Solatium Scheme by the General Insurance Corporation;
(i) provision for enhanced compensation in cases of ?no fault liability? and in hit and run motor accidents;
(j) provision for payment of compensation by the insurer to the extent of actual liability to the victims of motor accidents irrespective of the class of vehicles;
(k) maintenance of State registers for driving licenses and vehicle registration;
(l) constitution of Road Safety Councils.

These suggestions and the improvements also provided for more deterrent punishment in the cases of certain offences to attain the interest and for the promotion of the objective of the act.

One of the salient features of the act is that it contains penalties and the punishments for the contraventions of the provisions there of. Such penalties and punishments are in the nature of imprisonment, fine or both, besides seizure of motor vehicles, and or seizure, cancellation or suspension of the permit, license, certificate of registration or endorsement of any remarkable events of such documents, by a police, or the officer of the RTA or the other authority empowered by the government, as the case may be.

Drivers License as under motor vehicles act:

License in general would mean a revocable permission to commit some act that would otherwise be unlawful. Further the state issued certificate authorizing a person to operate a motor vehicle. Motor vehicles act 1988, section 2(10) defines the term Drivers License as follows:
"driving license" means the license issued by a competent authority under Chapter II authorising the person specified therein to drive, otherwise than as a learner, a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle of any specified class or description;

Chapter II of the motor vehicles act regulates and provides provisions for restricting and restraining the access to the motor vehicles for the public safety. This process of regulating and the restriction are achieved by the concept of license.

Section 3 of the act consisting of two sub sections deals with the necessity for holding driving license, accordingly subsection (1) of section 3 Provides that no person shall drive a motor vehicle in a public place with out holding a an effective driving license authorising him to drive the vehicle authorizing him to drive the vehicle other than motor cab or a motor cycle hired for his own use or rented under any scheme made under subsection (2) of section 75 unless his driving license specifically entitles him so to do. As provided for sub section (2) of section 3 the conditions subject to which sub section (1) of section 3 shall not apply to a person receiving in driving a motor vehicle shall be such as may be prescribed by the central government. The word effective in section 3 means a valid license regarding the period and the type of the vehicle. This condition makes every person to have the driving license and as a penalty as per the mistakes or the crimes committed by an individual to disable him from driving a motor vehicle the driving license is either revoked or cancelled or placed under probation.

Cancellation, revocation of the license:

Provisions of the act lay down certain circumstances where the license could be revoked or cancelled or a person could be disqualified from holding the license.
Section 16 of the act provides provisions for the revocation of the driving license on the grounds of disease or disability by the licensing authority for the reasons specified in that section. Basically this is the section where the probability of the person to cause disturbance in the public place in itself is considered by the authorities to revoke the license or disqualify the person from possessing such license. Further section 19 lays down certain condition and empowers the licensing authority to disqualify the person from holding the license or revoke the license. Sub section (1) of section 19 of the act empowers the licensing authority to dis qualify a person from holding a driving license in the circumstances envisaged under clause (a) to (h) of sub section (1) of that section, as provided below, subject to the provisions of sub section (2) and (3) of section 19, namely where the holder of the driving license:
(a) Is a habitual criminal or habitual drunkard; or
(b) Is a habitual addict to any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance within the meaning of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985); or
(c) Is using or has used a motor vehicle in the commission of a cognizable offence; or
(d) Has by his previous conduct as driver of a motor vehicle shown that his driving is likely to be attended with danger to the public; or
(e) Has obtained any driving licence or a licence to drive a particular class or description of motor vehicle by fraud or misrepresentation; or
(f) Has committed any such act which is likely to cause nuisance or danger to the public, as may be prescribed by the Central Government, having regard to the objects of this Act; or
(g) Has failed to submit to or has not passed the tests referred to in the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 22; or
(h) Being a person under the age of eighteen years who has been granted a learner's licence or a driving licence with the consent in writing of the person having the care of the holder of the licence and has ceased to he in such care,

In the above stated circumstances the penalties and punishments are imposed on the individuals as per stated in clauses h(i) and h(ii). In the event of the occurrence of any of the above situations, the punishments provided for is any of the following imposed by issuing an order by the licensing authority for the reasons to be recorded in writing, namely,

(i) Disqualifying that person for a specified period for holding or obtaining any driving licence to drive all or any classes or descriptions of vehicles specified in the licence; or
(ii) Revoke any such licence.

As provided for in sub section (2) of section 19 an order under sub section (1), when made the holder of driving license shall surrender his driving license immediately to the concerned licensing authority if it was not already surrendered and therefore the licensing authority shall keep that license until the disqualification has expired or has been removed where the driving license is issued under the motor vehicles act.

In addition to the above, section 20 of the act empowers the court which convicts a person for an offence under the act or of an offence in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used to disqualify a person from holding any driving licence to drive all classes or description of vehicles or any particular class or description of such vehicle as are specified in the said licence.

In furtherance of the objective of improving the road transport system and make them user friendly, section 21 also provides certain cases in which the driving licence can be suspended.

The license could be suspended by the police officer, as provided for in clauses (a) and (b) of subsection 1 of section 21 in respect of a person who was previously convicted of an offence under section 184 and a case is presently registered by the police officer, the driving license of such person shall become suspended for a period of six months from the date on which the case is so registered or if the concerned person is discharged or acquitted before the expiry of the said period, the suspension shall be until such discharge or acquittal, as the case may be.

By the court as provided for in subsection (2) of section 21, where the driving license has been suspended under subsection (1), the concerned police officer who has registered the case under sub section (1) of section 21, shall bring the same before the competent court and there upon such court shall take possession of the driving licence, endorse the suspension there on and intimate about such endorsement to the concerned licensing authority which issued or renewed the same. As per this section the license can be suspended by the police officer and that suspension could be endorsed by the court.

Adding up to the above stated sections, section 22 of the act, consisting of four subsections deals with the suspension or cancellation of the driving license on conviction of the holder of it. As provided for in subsection (3) of the section 22 with out prejudice to the sub section (1) of section 21, where a person referred to in sub section (1) of section 21, is convicted of offence of causing death or grievous hurt to one or more persons persons by such dangerous driving as is referred under section 184 of any class or description of the motor vehicles, court which convicts such person, may cancel or suspend for such period as it may think fit, the driving license of that person. Similarly with out prejudice to sub section (2) of section 20, if a person having been previously convicted by an offence punishable under section 185 is again convicted under the offence punishable under that section then the court making such subsequent conviction shall by order cancel the driving license by such person, as provided for in sub section (2) of section 22.

Where a driving license is cancelled or suspended under section 22, the court shall take the licence into custody, endorse the cancellation or suspension there on and send the same to the authority which has issued the license or renewed it. On receipt of same such authority shall keep the license in its the safe custody. In case of the suspended license such authority shall return the license to the holder after the expiry of the period of suspension, on making an application by such person for that purpose, as provided for in subsection (3) of 22.

Where a driving license is suspended under section 22, the person concerned shall be debarred from holding or obtaining the license to drive such particular class or description of motor vehicles so long as the cancellation or suspension of the driving license is in force, as provided for in subsection (4) of section 22.
If looked into, the act keenly we observe that section 206 of the act consisting of three sub sections is an independent provision dealing with the power of police of police officers to impound and seize the false identification mark, or documents relating to license, permit, certificate of registration, certificate of insurance or other document produced to him by the driver or the person in charge of a motor vehicle, with in the meaning of section 464 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. All the above mentioned sections try to enforce the conditions required for the public to enjoy the facilities provided as under the road transport system, by empowering the licensing authority and police to cancel or revoke or suspend the license provided to the individuals.

Motor Vehicles under Motor Vehicles act:

Motor vehicles act 1988, section 2(28) defines the term Motor Vehicle as follows:
"motor vehicle" or "vehicle" means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an external or internal source and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached and a trailer; but does not include a vehicle running upon fixed rails or a vehicle of a special type adapted for use only in a factory or in any other enclosed premises or a vehicle having less than four wheels fitted with engine capacity of not exceeding [twenty-five cubic centimetres];

Access to a motor vehicle in a public place depends on the permit provided to that individual and the license obtained by that person as it is mandatory under section 3 of the act. Which mean that the use of the motor vehicle in the public place is restricted to those who are permitted by the government.
Section 207 of the act consisting of two subsections provides power to a police officer or other authorised person to seize and detain motor vehicles used with out certificate of registration, permit, etc., in contravention of the provisions of section 3 or 4 or 39 or with out the permit required by sub section (1)of section 66 or in contravention to any condition of such permit relating to the route or the area where the vehicle may be used. He may instead of seizing the vehicle may seize the certificate of registration and issue an acknowledgement in there of. Analogous law Section 207 Corresponds to s. 129 A of M.V. Act 1939.
129A. Power to detain vehicles used without certificate of registration or permit. Any police officer authorised in this behalf or other person authorised in this behalf by the State Government may, if he has reason to believe that a motor vehicle has been or is being used in contravention of the provisions of s. 22 or without the permit required by sub-sec. (1) of s. 42 or in contravention of any condition of such permit relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used, seize and detain the vehicles and for this purpose take or cause to be taken any steps he may consider proper for the temporary safe custody of the vehicle:

Provided that where any such officer or person has reason to believe that a motor vehicle has been or is being used without the permit required by sub-sec. (1) of s. 42, he may instead of seizing the vehicle, seize the certificate of registration of the vehicle and shall issue an acknowledgement in respect thereof:
Provided further that where a motor vehicle has been seized and detained under this section for contravention of the provisions of s. 22, such vehicle shall not be released to the owner unless and until he produces a valid certificate of registration under this Act in respect of that vehicle.

Difference between old s. 129A and s. 207:

There is no material change of old s. 129A except the opening sentence. Instead of the sentence "any police officer authorised in this behalf or other persons authorised in this behalf by the State Government" has been substituted as if any police officer or other person authorised in this behalf by the State Government". What is new under s. 207 is that an authorised officer or person may seize and detain a vehicle which (i) has been or is being used in contravention of s. 3 i.e. driving a motor vehicle in public without valid driving licence; (if) has been or is being used in contravention of the provisions of s. 4 i.e. age limit of 18 years for driving a motor vehicle. Otherwise, power of seizure and detention under s. 207 and old s. 129A for contravention of s. 39 (old s. 22) and s. 66 (old s. 42) are the same. Thus, in substance, s. 207 is analogous to s. 129Aof old Act 1939.

Constitutional validity of the section:

Under s. 207 sufficient guidelines and norms have been laid for exercise of powers by the concerned authorities. The power has to be exercised only in certain circumstances and on existence of objective facts which the concerned authorities must have reason to believe about their existence. In the case of abuse of power or misuse of powers, the aggrieved parties may always approach the higher authorities or the appropriate Courts for appropriate relief. Thus, s. 207 is not ultra vires of Art. 14 or Art. 19(1) (d)(g) and s. 300A of the constitution and because of same procedural change it cannot be said that there is material change in s. 129A substituted by s. 207. So, constitutional validity of s. 207 is upheld.

The authorities exercising the power of detention and seizure of the vehicle are under an statutory obligation to see that only minimal inconvenience is caused to owners of the vehicle. In appropriate cases they should take recourse to the proviso to sub-sec.(l) of s. 207 instead of seizure and detention of the vehicle. In petty matters the offences can be compounded upon payment of Rs. 2,000 as fine/ So, s. 207 is not violating Art. 19(l)(g) of the Constitution.3

In the case of seizure under the Motor Vehicles Act, all things are seized not separately but as part of the vehicle itself and there is no provision for preparing a list of things seized under s. 129A of the M.V Act 1939. It is in the interest of the very officer or person seizing the vehicle, that such officer or person takes care to prepare a list of detachable things which are ordinarily not parts of the vehicle and hand over a copy of the list to the person in charge of the vehicle at the time of seizure. But s. 129A cannot be said to be unreasonable because there is no provision for preparing a list of things seized as it is not possible to comply with s. 100(4) (5), CrPC.

Power to seize and detain vehicle:

The power of seizure has been conferred upon the appropriate authority, which power is, infact, a sovereign power of the State and has been delegated to the police officer. If the police officer has reason to believe that the vehicle has been or is being used in contravention of any condition of such permit "relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used" then that will only authorise him to detain the vehicle and not for each and every condition of permit on being violated or contravened. The expression "purpose for which the vehicle may be used" could not be contrued that when the vehicle is found to be carrying passengers more than the number prescribed in the permit then the purpose of user is otherwise. In such a case the purpose would only refer to a contingency and well not be a violation of the purpose for which the permit is granted. The addition of the expression "relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used" does not confer power of detention on the police officer for violation of any condition of the permit.

A vehicle plying in breach of conditions of permit as regards the purpose of usage of the vehicle can be seized under s. 207 of the M.V. Act 1988, but not under s. 8 of the A.E Motor Vehicles Taxation Act 1963 for arrears of tax demand. But the mere fact that the latter provision is also quoted does not vitiate seizure. The vehicle so seized cannot be detained until the completion of enquiry under the Taxation Act and payment of tax, if any pursuant to the demand raised.
The vehicle seized under s. 207 on the ground of contravention of conditions of permit should not be detained for unduly long time and an application filed by the vehicle operator, the vehicle ought to be released with expedition subject to stipulation of conditions to ensure non-alienation of the vehicle and the production of vehicle in connection with the enquiry unless there are exceptional circumstances which make the release of vehicle frustrate the enquiry. Such conditions may include furnishing of cash security of a reasonable amount which could be adjusted later on towards compounding fee or tax if any demanded.

The detention of vehicle shall not continue beyond a short period unless such detention is essential to facilitate the finalisation of the enquiry or to ensure compliance with the ultimate order passed. If other steps or remedies are equally open to effectively enforce the ultimate order that may be passed and the detention no longer serves any purpose; an implied duty is cast on the competent authority to release the vehicle without undue delay. Reasonable conditions to ensure the production of vehicle of course, be prescribed.

Detention of goods vehicle being used for carrying passengers cannot be said to be unlawful or illegal. A tourist vehicle under a valid permit for country wide operation as non-stop motor vehicle plying between one terminus in home State and another terminus in another State and carry individual passengers whose names are listed as per the prior contract and who have paid separate fares to travel agents who engaged the whole vehicle on contract with the permit holder can also be seized and detained under s. 129A of M.V. Act 1939 or under s. 207, M.V Act 1988 under special circumstances. If the checking authorities on the spot have reason to believe that such vehicle has carried passengers whose names are either not given in advance to the permit holder before the journey begins or even if their names are so given, any of them are not genuine and bona fide tourists, then such tourist vehicle can be seized and detained.

When a truck was being plied on road without permit, it could be seized by police. Where vehicles holding special permits under ss. 66(6) and 66(7) of M.V Act 1939[New ss. 88(6) & 88(7) of M.V Act 1988] were operating as stage carriage permits masque rading as contract carriage, the cases fell within the compass of s. 129A of Act 1939 on the ground that the vehicles were plying without permit as required by s. 42(1) of Act 1939 [News. 66(1) of Act 1988].

Rule 448Aof A.R Motor Vehicles Rules 1989conferringpowersonmotorvehicles Inspector to seize and detain vehicle is not unconstitutional and so also Rule 448B inserted by government orders is not uftra vires. Rule 259(2) of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 lays down that any officer of the Motor Vehicles Department of and above the rank of inspector of M.V Shall exercise powers under various section is so far as it relates to s. 207 is witra vires the power of the govt. for making such rules as permitted by s. 212(3) of the Act.

Where the State Government by a notification authorised an officer of the State Road Transport Corpn to exercise powers under s. 129A of Act 1939 to mean "other person" in the section, the said notification was not valid.

When vehicle may not be seized:
The High Court directed the State Government to issue a general circular to the following effect: "When a permit holder-contends that he has not committed a breach, in that case, his vehicle should not be seized but his registration certificate must be seized and an acknowledgment to this effect maybe given so that he may have a right to approach for redressal of his grievance."

Seizure of vehicle is limited to grounds envisaged in the provision of s. 207. Directions were issued by respondent to subordinates for avoiding harassment of long distance passengers of contract carriage by seizing vehicle violating s. 207.

Seizure under s. 207 has to be delinked from tax liability:

For release of a vehicle seized under s. 207 of the Act, the demand of estimated tax to be determined after due enquiry under the provisions of the A.R Motor Vehicles Taxation Act 1963 or furnishing security therefore shall not be made a condition precedent. The Competent Transport Authority can withhold the release or stipulate any appropriate conditions for release where there is reasonable apprehension that the vehicle will not be available for taking further action but not for payment of tax not yet determined. Such reasons are to be recorded in writing. What cannot be done under s. 8 of the Taxation Act cannot be accomplished under s. 207 of the M.V. Act and s. 207 does not confer the power of seizure on the ground of anticipated tax liability. The power under s. 207 can be exercised not because of prima facie satisfaction that tax has not been paid but for reasons that the vehicle has been or being used without permit or in violation of conditions of permit. The seizure of vehicle under s. 207 has to be delinked from the question of tax liability under the State Taxation Act though the violations giving rise to seizure may give rise to action under both the Acts.

A circular issued by the High Court addressed to all subordinate Courts stated that seizure of motor vehicles in the event of non-payment of tax would not amount to seizure of motor vehicle with respect of any offence. It was held that the circular was issued ignoring the provisions of s. 11 of the Rajasthan Motor Vehicles Taxation Act 1951 and was issued on the administrative side which could not curtail the judicial powers of the Magistrate under s. 457, Cr. EC. Powers of the Magistrate regarding seized property under s. 457, Cr. EC. do not stand excluded in view of specific provisions in s. 207 of the M.V Act 1988.

Detention and seizure of vehicle unauthorised for carrying passengers more than prescribed in permit:

The expression "purpose for which the vehicle may be used" could not be construed to mean that when the vehicle is found to be carrying passengers more than the number prescribed in the permit, the purpose of user is violated. Carrying passengers more than the number specified in the permit will not be violation of the purpose for which the permit is granted. The purpose would only refer to a contingency when a vehicle having a permit for stage carriage is used as a contract carriage and nice versa. If the Legislature really wanted to confer power of detention on the police officer for violation of any condition of permit, then there would not have been the necessity of adding the expression "relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used."
The user of the aforesaid expression cannot be ignored nor can it be said to be a tautology. Carrying passengers beyond the number (seating capacity) mentioned in column 5 of the Form of permit issued under r. 72(l)(ix) and r. 74(6) of Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, would not be violation of the conditions of permit relating to either the route or the area or the purpose for which the permit is granted. So, detention and seizure of vehicle on that ground are unauthorized.

Conclusion:
The powers of stopping the motor vehicles and the powers of inspection, search, seizure and detention exercised under the Act are serious restrictions on the fundamental right of the operators of motor vehicles guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. These powers can be considered as reasonable restrictions only when they are exercised properly in the interests of the general public. They should be reasonable both from the substantive as well as the procedural standpoint. They would be reasonable only when the act of the official is in the interest of the public at large. There is a chance of these powers being misused hence to avoid any of this kind exploitation, Such powers should, be entrusted to a person who is expected to exercise them fairly and without bias.
The power given to seize and detain vehicle under s. 129A of M.V, Act 1939 is to be exercised by the police officer or the authorised person when he has a reason to believe that an offence punishable under s. 123(1) of the M.V Act 1939 has been or is being committed. If the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act are read in conjunction with sub-secs, (4) and (5) of s. 100, Cr. P. C., it is seen that there is no lacuna whatsoever in regard to the proper custody and disposal of the vehicle seized under s. 129A. The custody of the vehicle in the hands of the police officer or authorised person is but temporary and he is obliged to act and take all further steps in the matter with all expedition.

If he releases the vehicle on being, satisfied that no offence has been committed or if releases the vehicle on the offence being compounded, no further question arises. If, instead he lays a complaint before the Court, the Court acquires instant jurisdiction over the vehicle to pass suitable orders. In the remote event of the police officer or the authorised person not taking any further action after seizing and detaining the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle is not without remedy. Article 226 of the Constitution is always available Management and Control of Traffic constitutional obligation:

The existing provisions in the Act alone are sufficient to clothe the members of the police force without reference to the general powers available under the Police Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Transport authorities with ample powers to control and regulate the traffic in an appropriate manner. So that no vehicle being used in a public place poses any danger to the public in any form.

When the strength of the police force is not adequate in a given area, the law confers power of delegation of these powers to other authorities, officers and responsible members of the public so that the resource crunch or inadequacy of infrastructure is not an impediment in enforcement of the law. For the purpose of such delegation, these authorities would not suffer from any constraint and this order is sufficient empowerment to them in this behalf notwithstanding any administrative orders imposing any impediment or constraint on them, if any. The control and regulation of traffic is a matter of paramount public safety and is evidently within the ambit of Art. 21 of the Constitution.

For the reason of promotion of the public safety the police and the licensing authorities restrain the individual if need and impose the reasonable restriction as listed and analyzed above.

The author can be reached at: anup.koushik@legalserviceindia.com / Print This Article

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