Calcutta High Court: Moushumi Bhattacharya, J. took cognizance of a petition which was filed praying for quashing an order passed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic Department by which Driving Licence of the petitioner was suspended for 90 days from the date of interception.
The documents on record show that the petitioner’s car was intercepted while the petitioner was driving from South City Mall to her residence in New Alipore. The petitioner’s car was intercepted by the Traffic Sergeant (respondent 6) at the Southern Avenue-Lake Gardens interception. The particulars of violation showed that the petitioner was driving at a speed of 62.1 km/hr whereas the speed limit on the particular road was 30 km/hr.
Counsel appearing for the petitioner and the State have made their arguments on the legality of the action of the police to suspend the Driving Licence of the petitioner based on the relevant provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the notification issued by the Transport Department of the Government of West Bengal.
The Court discussed the relevant provisions of the Act in detail and observed that only a licensing authority can disqualify a person from holding or obtaining a driving licence or revoke such licence [19(1)(i) and (ii)]. The order of disqualification may also be given by the licensing authority under 19(1A) of the Act. The Court further remarked that since the Motor Vehicles Act gives the power, in no uncertain terms, to the licensing authority and limits the power of the police to disqualify a person or revoke his licence under the Act, the notification issued by the State Transport Department cannot override the provisions of the parent Act.
The Court quashed the impugned order holding that the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic Department did not have the power to suspend the licence of the petitioner. The concerned respondents were directed to release the Driving Licence of the petitioner. However, the Court did not approve of the justification given by the petitioner for the act of over-speeding.
“The excuse for over speeding is no ground at all since the petitioner should have a sufficient eco-system in place and not become a risk to other travelers on the road.”
[Priyasha Bhattacharyya v. State of West Bengal, 2022 SCC OnLine Cal 2051, decided on 19-07-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr Phiroze Edulji, Ms Amrita Panja Moulick, Advocates, for the Petitioner;
Mr Amal Kumar Sen, Mr Jaladhi Das, Advocates, for the State.
*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.