Special Leave Petition (C) No. 3265 of 2012. Case: Chairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation and Ors. Vs Smt. Santosh and Ors.. Supreme Court

Case NumberSpecial Leave Petition (C) No. 3265 of 2012
Party NameChairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation and Ors. Vs Smt. Santosh and Ors.
CounselFor Appearing Parties: A. Mariarputham, AG, Siddharth Luthra, ASG, S.C. Maheshwari, S.K. Dubey, Sr. Advs., Manish Singhvi, Manjit Singh, Suryanarayan Singh, AAG's, Imtiaz Ahmed, Naghma Imtiaz, Advs. for Equity Lex Associates, Satya Siddiqui, Supriya Juneja, S.K. Mishra, Aditya Singla, V.K. Biju, D.S. Mahra, Divena Saighal, Mohan Prasad Gupta, ...
JudgesB.S. Chauhan and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, JJ.
IssueMotor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Sections 2, 2(2), 2(14), 2(28), 2(34), 2(44), 2(46), 2(47), 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 10(2), 56, 59, 61(2), 66(2), 61(3), 66, 67, 112, 133, 146; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 ; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 32, 141, 142, 144
Citation2013 (II) ACC 501, 2013 ACJ 1906, 2013 (VI) AD (SC) 140, AIR 2013 SC 2150, 2013 (3) AJR 160, 2013 (99) ALR 475, 2013 (1) AWR. 936 (SC), 2013 (4) AWC 4058 SC, 2013 (3) JLJR 167, JT 2013 (7) SC 412, 2013 (6) MahLJ 97, 2013 (4) MPLJ 292, 2013 (3) PLJR 149, 2013 (172) PLR 76, 2013 (3) RLW 2114, 2013 (7) SCALE 230, 2013 (7) SCC 94, 2013 (4) WBLR (SC) 67
Judgement DateMay 10, 2013
CourtSupreme Court

Order:

  1. Originally this petition had been filed challenging the judgment and order of the Rajasthan High Court dated 21.9.2011 passed in S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 480 of 2001, wherein the complete liability of providing compensation in a vehicular accident had been fixed upon the Appellant-Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'RSRTC'), while unfastening the liability of the driver and the owner of the vehicle, known as 'Jugaad', under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act').

  2. At the time of hearing the petition, this Court vide order dated 6.2.2012 did not consider it proper to examine the issue in respect of compensation. However, the question was raised by Shri Imtiaz Ahmed, learned Counsel appearing for the RSRTC that this Court must examine whether 'Jugaad' is a vehicle under the Act, and in case, it is a motor vehicle Under Section 2(28) of the Act, whether such 'Jugaad' is required to be insured and registered before it is permitted to ply on the road and whether the driver of 'Jugaad' must compulsorily have a driving licence. As such important issues have been raised by Shri Imtiaz Ahmed, we had requested Shri H.P. Raval, learned ASG to assist the court, after taking instructions from the Road Transport Ministry of the Central Government about the status of 'Jugaad' under the Act. Shri Raval responded to the aforesaid queries on 13.4.2012 and submitted that it is a motor vehicle as defined Under Section 2(28) of the Act, and the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways had issued a circular dated 26.7.2007 issuing instructions to all State transport authorities clarifying that 'Jugaad' is a vehicle Under Section 2(28) of the Act and all the States are under a legal obligation to enforce the same. Therefore, no person should be permitted to ply a 'Jugaad' as it violates all the provisions of the Act.

    It must have a registration and insurance and the driver must have a valid driving license and in case of an accident etc, the liability under the provisions of the Act, may be properly determined. However, Shri Raval has raised a grievance that in spite of issuance of such a circular, most of the States have not enforced the terms of the said circular issued by the Central Government.

  3. Considering the aforesaid grievance raised by Shri Raval, this Court impleaded the Transport Secretary/Commissioner of all the States as party Respondents and asked them to submit their response. While some of the States have submitted that it is not a vehicle within the meaning of the provisions of Section 2(28) of the Act. The State of Karnataka has submitted the vehicle like 'Jugaad' was not in existence in the State.

  4. It has further been pointed out by learned Counsel for the parties that enforcement of the provisions of the Act and the rules framed under it, come within the jurisdiction of the State Governments. Therefore, they must be directed to ensure strict compliance of the said provisions of the Act. It has also been pointed out by Shri Siddharth Luthra, learned ASG that a letter dated 19.7.2012 was sent by the Director (RT) of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, to all the State Authorities to ensure compliance of the statutory provisions of the Act and the rules.

  5. Shri Manish Singhvi, learned senior counsel appearing for the State of Rajasthan has submitted that the government of Rajasthan has examined the matter and decided to prohibit the plying of "Jugaad" on the roads completely. Such a vehicle cannot be used for any commercial purpose, without being registered and duly insured and in compliance with the other statutory requirements. However, the State Government carved out an exception that farmers/poor villagers may be permitted to use the same for their agricultural purposes as an interim measure till the rules are framed in this regard. It has further been submitted that in case 'Jugaads' are found plying on the roads, they shall be impounded and will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law. A similar stand has been taken by the majority of the States.

  6. An application has been filed by Rashtriya Kisan Morcha, for impleadment/intervention which is allowed. The Morcha raised a grievance that in case plying of the 'Jugaad' is prohibited completely, it will create a serious problem for the farmers, as seizure/impounding of "Jugaad" would have penal consequences. The 'Jugaad' is nothing, but an improved version of a bullock cart which has been used for centuries in the villages. The farmer communities should not be restrained from using the improved carts/jugaad in the villages to and from houses to the farms and for bringing the agricultural produces from their agricultural lands.

  7. Some of the lawyers have raised the issue that issuing any kind of direction by this Court in these regards would amount to legislation which is not permissible in law. Thus, they have suggested that instead of issuing the directions, the Central Government and the State authorities be directed to frame a policy, amend the rules specifically and enforce the same. However, other lawyers have opposed this view and submitted that the issue involved herein is restricted only with enforcement of law and not with legislation. As the "Jugaad" is a vehicle within the meaning of Section 2(28) of the Act.

  8. We have considered the rival submissions made by learned Counsel for the parties and perused the record.

    So far as the legislation by the court is concerned, as a corollary to the doctrine of separation of powers, a judge merely applies the law that it gets from the legislature. Consequently, the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition has insisted that...

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