HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) "the petitioner challenges Ext. P2 communication issued by the Public Service Commission rejecting his application for appointment as Driver in the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation on the ground that he does not have the prescribed qualification.
(2.) THE petitioner obtained Light Motor Vehicle Driving licence on 30. 8. 1980. He got endorsement to drive Heavy Transport Vehicle on 4. 7. 1981. THE last date of receipt of application was 5. 8. 1992. After that date the petitioner got endorsement enabling him to drive Heavy Goods Vehicle and heavy Passenger Vehicle on 1. 4. 1996.
The prescribed qualifications for appointment as driver in the K. S. R. T. C. , which reflect in the notification regarding driving licences are the following: "must possess a valid Motor Driving Licence with endorsement to drive Heavy Duty Vehicles and should have completed seven (7)years after getting the driving licence of which three (3) years or more should be the period after taking heavy duty vehicles licence. Driving licence issued after 16. 1. 79 must have endorsements both for Heavy Goods Vehicles and Heavy passengers Vehicles and the applications with only one endorsement in the licence will be summarily rejected".
Going by the above qualification apparently the petitioner is not qualified on the last date for the receipt of application. But this Court as per the decision in Divakaran v. Kerala Public Service commission (1999 (3) KLT 340) has held relying on the definitions of 'transport vehicle' etc. contained in S. 2 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that the endorsement regarding heavy transport vehicle made on 4. 7. 1981 can be taken as equivalent to the endorsement of heavy goods vehicle and heavy passenger vehicle in petitioner's driving licence. Though the P. S. C. filed an appeal against the said decision, it was disposed of without deciding the case on merits. At the time of hearing it was found that even if the petitioner is taken as qualified he will not come anywhere near the top of the list to enable him to get appointment. Therefore the Writ Appeal was closed without deciding the appeal on merits. The contentions were left open.
(3.) ANOTHER learned judge of this Court in O. P. No. 28544/2000 following the decision in Divakaran v. Kerala Public Service commission has held that the petitioner therein is qualified. But the learned counsel for the P. S. C. points out that the application in that case was rejected mainly on the ground that the endorsement was not legible. Therefore the P. S. C. did not choose to file an appeal as the petitioner therein was eligible for being considered for selection, though for reasons different from those stated by the learned Single Judge. Learned counsel for the P. S. C. took me through Ss. 9 and 10 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 dealing with the grant of driving licence and submitted that the decision of the learned Single Judge in Divakaran v. Kerala Public Service Commission does not laid down the correct legal position. I find considerable force in the submission of the learned counsel for the P. S. C. that the petitioner is not having the qualification prescribed, which is contained in the notification. In the absence of any provision for considering any equivalent qualification this Court may not be justified in saying that the endorsement of heavy transport vehicle should be treated as equivalent to heavy goods vehicle and heavy passenger vehicle.
I feel this is a matter which should be resolved by an authoritative pronouncement of a Division Bench of this Court. The point to be settled is whether a person having endorsement of heavy transport vehicle in his driving licence should be treated a person having the prescribed qualification for appointment to the post of reserve driver in the k. S. R. T. C. " 2. Ext. P1 endorsement show that the petitioner was authorised to drive heavy transport vehicles with effect from 4. 7. 81, transport vehicle is defined under S. 2 (47), which is quoted below: " "transport vehicle" means a public service vehicle, a goods carriage, an educational institution bus or a private service vehicle" Petitioner got endorsement to drive the heavy transport vehicle in 1981 when Motor Vehicles Act, 1930 was in force. S. 2 (33) defines private service vehicle as follows: " "private service vehicle" means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six persons excluding the driver and ordinarily used by or on behalf of the owner of such vehicle for the purpose of carrying persons for, or in connection with, his trade or business otherwise than for hire or reward but does not include a motor vehicle used for public purposes". Public service vehicle is defined under S. 2 (35) as follows: "public service vehicle" means any motor vehicle used or adapted to be used for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, and includes a maxicab, a motorcab, contract carriage and stage carriage. " (In the old Act the word 'maxicab' was not included in the definition ). It is not disputed that the petitioner was having a licence for running'heavy Transport Vehicle" which includes both passenger and goods vehicles. The petitioner's licence also authorises him to drive all heavy transport vehicle, which include public and private service vehicles and goods vehicles. So petitioner had licence at that time to run both heavy goods vehicle as well as heavy passenger vehicle. 3. The learned counsel for the petitioner referred to chap. 2 of S. 2 (10) of the Motor Vehicles Act. It is stated that licence can be issued by the competent authority authorising person to drive motor vehicle of any special class or description. Different modes of transport vehicles were mentioned as specified in S. 10 of the Act. But if that interpretation is taken, the petitioner will not be able to drive any kind of vehicle as heavy transport vehicle is not mentioned at all. A reasonable interpretation has to be taken considering S. 100) which describes "motor vehicle of specified description". It is true that now licences are being issued to drive heavy passenger vehicles and heavy goods vehicle separately. But, it is the case of the petitioner that his licence was issued for driving 'heavy transport vehicle' which included public or private service vehicle (passenger vehicle) as well as goods vehicle. The notification only stated that endorsement should be for driving 'heavy goods vehicles' and 'heavy passenger vehicle' and application with only one endorsement is not enough. Here the endorsement is 'heavy transport vehicle' which included licence for driving both 'heavy goods vehicle' and 'heavy passenger vehicle' and not for one type of vehicle only. He had proper licence to run heavy transport vehicle. Therefore rejection of the petitioner's application is not correct. It is true that in view of the objections raised, subsequently he got separate endorsement for driving both type of vehicles. That will not prejudice his case. We see no ground to differ from the judgment of this court in Divakaran v. Kerala Public Service Commission (1999 (3) KLT 340 ). The above judgment lays down the correct legal position. Hence we allow the original Petition. Ext. P2 is set aside. As per the interim order, petitioner was also called for test and practical test for the purpose of selection. If the petitioner is otherwise entitled, petitioner shall be advised for appointment.;
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