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K. Natarajan Vs. the Registering Authority, (Regional Transport Officer) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)2MLJ251
AppellantK. Natarajan
RespondentThe Registering Authority, (Regional Transport Officer)
Cases ReferredSubramania Mudailar v. Regional Transport Authority
Excerpt:
- .....for the petitioner is that the petitioner is an innocent purchaser of the vehicle and the order of suspension passed in respect of the vehicle when his vendor was the owner cannot be given effect to after he had purchased the vehicle. in support of this contention, the learned counsel relies on a judgment of ramakrishnan, j., in subramania mudailar v. regional transport authority, chingleput a.i.r. 1968 mad. 315. i am of the opinion that this decision is not of any assistance to the petitioner's case. that decision dealt with the case of a suspension of permit of a stage carriage under section 60 of the motor vehicles act. with reference to such a situation, veeraswami, j., as he then was, has held in writ petition no. 196 of 1963 that the suspension can be given effect to even after the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

M.M. Ismail, J.

1. The motor car bearing No. MDS 7035 was found to be used as an illicit taxi and for this irregularity the registering authority on 16th January i967 suspended the registration certificate of the car for a period of three months, acting under Section 33 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. The car was owned by one C.P. Arappaleeswaran at that time. His appeal to the Regional Transport Authority Salem, was dismissed on 25th September, 1967. However, the owner of the car did not surrender the registration certificate as required by Section 33(4) of the Act. It is stated that the petitioner purchased the car from the said C.P. Arappaleeswaran on 6th November, 1967, and when he sent the registration certificate of the car to the Registering Authority, Salem, that authority by an order dated 24th April, 1968 stated that the order of suspension already passed would be given effect to from 15th May, 1968 to 14th August, 1968, both days inclusive, and that the petitioner herein, who is the owner of the Vehicle, should not put the vehicle on road during the period of suspension under any circumstances. It is to quash this order the present writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been filed.

2. The only contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner is an innocent purchaser of the vehicle and the order of suspension passed in respect of the vehicle when his Vendor was the owner cannot be given effect to after he had purchased the Vehicle. In support of this contention, the learned Counsel relies on a judgment of Ramakrishnan, J., in Subramania Mudailar v. Regional Transport Authority, Chingleput A.I.R. 1968 Mad. 315. I am of the opinion that this decision is not of any assistance to the petitioner's case. That decision dealt with the case of a suspension of permit of a stage carriage under Section 60 of the Motor Vehicles Act. With reference to such a situation, Veeraswami, J., as he then was, has held in Writ Petition No. 196 of 1963 that the suspension can be given effect to even after the vehicle has been transferred and when the vehicle is in the possession of the transferee. The learned Judge pointed out in that case:

It is clear therefore that, though in a sense the holder is punished, in fact the contravention of the conditions of the permit results in suspension of the permit in whosoever hands it may be held.

This decision was not brought to the notice of Ramakrishnan, J., and no reference has been made to it in the judgment of Ramakrishnan, J. Further, the decision of Ramakrishnan, J., is distinguishable on facts. In that case, the Regional Transport Authority sanctioning the transfer of the permit had ordered as follows:

In exercise of the powers conferred on me, under Section 59 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, I, the Regional Transport Authority, Chingleput District, do hereby sanction the transfer of permit in respect of stage carriage MSX 6202, as applied for, subject to the condition that the transferee should undergo the punishments on charges, if any, pending against the permit. The transferor should send the Parts A and B permit to this office for making necessary entries therein.

In view of this order, it was contended before the learned Judge that:

This statement about punishment on charge, if any, pending against the permit, really had reference to punishment already imposed upon Syed Yacoob in relation to the period when the permit was under his control, treating them as liabilities to which the permit had already become subject to, consequent on an order imposing suspension which had been passed before the transfer by the Regional Transport Authority, after taking the explanation of Syed Yacoob, the transferor. In other words, at the time when the aforesaid penalty was imposed, Syed Yacoob was in a position to give proper explanation, because he was holder of the permit at the time of enquiry and also at the time when the punishment was imposed.

The learned Judge observed:

But the present case deals with a different situation. The contravention which gave rise to the issue of 'show cause' notice took place when Syed Yacoob was the holder of the permit. But no order imposing penalty had been passed in regard to this contravention at the time when the transfer was approved.

Thus the decision of Ramakrishnan, J., dealt with a case where no order imposing any penalty was actually passed by the transport authority and the present case being one where an order had already been passed and even the appeal preferred against that order having been dismissed, the position is entirely different.

3. I am of the view that no distinction can be made between the suspension of a registration certificate under Section 33 of the Act and the suspension of a permit under Section 60 of the Act. In both the cases, though in one sense it is the owner of the car or the holder of the permit that is punished, the punishment really relates to and attaches itself to the registration certificate or the permit, as the case may be. If a plea as is put forward by the petitioner is allowed to prevail, it will be easy for any owner of a car to escape the punishment already imposed upon him by transferring the car and thereby render the orders already passed nugatory and stultify the legal provisions in respect thereof. Under these circumstances, I am of the view that there is no irregularity in the order of the registering authority in seeking to give effect to the suspension order already passed in respect of the vehicle now in the possession of the petitioner herein.

4. Mr. V. Narayanaswamy, learned Counsel for the petitioner, contended that such a vicarious liability cannot be imposed on an innocent subsequent purchaser and that the only remedy the authorities have is to prosecute the previous owner under Section 112 of the Act since the previous owner had failed to surrender the registration certificate as contemplated by Section 33 (4) of the Act. I am of the view that this contention proceeds really on a misapprehension. The provision for prosecution under Section 112 of the Act is independent of the power conferred on the transport authority to cancel or suspend either the permit or the registration certificate under the different provisions of the Act for the reasons and grounds mentioned therein. Simply because there is a power to prosecute the previous owner, it cannot be contended that that power either expressly, or by implication, displaces the power to suspend the registration certificate and to give effect to the same notwithstanding the subsequent transfer of the vehicle from the previous owner to a new owner.

5. Under these circumstances, I am of the view that there are no merits in this writ petition and the same fails and is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


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