Mere filing of FIR can’t be ground to seize license: HC to cops

Justice N Sathish Kumar passed the order on disposing of a petition filed by K Senthilkumar, TNSTC bus driver. The petitioner prayed for a direction to Regional Transport Officer, Dharapuram to return his license.
Madras HC
Madras HC

CHENNAI: Observing that merely on the basis of the First Information Report (FIR) is registered particularly in the other IPC offenses, the Madras HC held that police officers cannot have the power to seize the driving license.

Justice N Sathish Kumar passed the order on disposing of a petition filed by K Senthilkumar, TNSTC bus driver. The petitioner prayed for a direction to Regional Transport Officer, Dharapuram to return his license.

According to Senthilkumar, since he hit a bike and the rider died, the petitioner's license was seized by Kundadam Police Inspector and forwarded to RTO. He challenged the seizure saying that police have no power to seize the license.

However, the respondents submitted that under sub-clause (4) to Section 206 of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, the police can very well seize the license.

"Under Section 19 (1A) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, the RTO has the power to suspend or revoke the license," KMD Muhilan, Additional Government Pleader argued.

However, the judges rejected the contention and stated that before taking any action under Section 19 of the Act, an opportunity has to be given by the Licensing Authority.

"Therefore, the seizure power of the police introduced under Section 206 of the Act is only in certain circumstances. Only if the police officer has reason to believe that offense has been committed in any of the sections 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D, or 194E under sub-clause (4) of Section 206 of the MV Act, he can seize the license and forward to the licensing authority," the judge held. The judge directed the RTO to return the license within a week.

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