Decided on September 02,2003

PONNAPPAN Respondents


- (1.) The important question that has come up for consideration is whether a driving licence is necessary for operating a Power Tiller. Tilakan, the 2nd appellant, Tilakan was operating the Power Tiller bearing Reg. No.KL 4382 on 3.5.1991. While so, it hit against Ponnan the first respondent, herein causing some injuries. The Power Tiller belonged to the first appellant Cooperative Society. The injured 1st respondent filed OP (MV) 918/91 before the MACT Alleppey. The Tribunal awarded a total compensation of Rs. 32,000/- with interest at 12% from 27.6.1991 till realisation. The Tribunal exonerated National Insurance Company, the 3rd respondent from the liability for compensation holding that the operator of the Power Tiller did not have a valid driving licence, though there was a valid insurance coverage for the vehicle. The above award is under challenge at the instance of the owner and operator of the Power Tiller.
(2.) The main argument advanced by the learned counsel for the appellants was that a driving licence was not required by law, for operating a Power Tiller, though it was a motor vehicle as defined under S.2(28) of the Motor Vehicles Act. It was argued that a driving licence could be insisted only in respect of the class of vehicles mentioned in S.10(2) and as Power Tillers were not included in the above class of vehicles, no licence was necessary to operate the Power Tiller. It was further argued that there was no driving seat provided to the Power Tiller and only when there was a driving seat provided for in the case of the Power Tiller the vehicle was operated by holding its handle and the operator walking though the ground. The learned counsel for the Insurance Company submitted that the Tiller being a motor vehicle as defined under the M.V. Act a driving licence was necessary for driving the above vehicle and as the 2nd appellant was not having a driving licence, the Insurance Company was not liable for the compensation due to the injured.
(3.) Chap.2 of the M.V. Act deals with the licencing of drivers of Motor Vehicles. S.3 stipulates the necessity of driving licence. S.10 of the M.V. Act deals with the form and contents of a licence to driver. Sub-s. (1) says that the learners licence and driving licence shall be in such form as may be prescribed. Sub-s. (2) says that the learners licence and the driving licence shall express the class of vehicle or vehicles which the holder of the licence was entitled to drive. It mentions of the following classes of vehicles (a) motor cycle without gear, (b) motor cycle with gear (c) invalid carriage, (d) light motor cycle, (e) transport vehicle, (f) road roller and (g) motor vehicle of the specified description. The above classes do not include a Power Tiller and it was not specified too and as such I do not think that a driving licence is necessary for the operation of a Power Tiller which is not ordinarily used for transport purpose. The main purpose of the Power Tiller is for the agricultural work and for that purpose it requires movement. Yet Power Tiller would come in category of a motor cycle and there by registration under the Motor Vehicles Act was necessary. But for operating the above, the law does not contemplate the requirement of a driving licence as the vehicle itself does not provide any seat for accommodating a driver. Hence, the argument of the learned counsel for the appellants that a driving licence under the M.V. Act is not required for the operation of a Power Tiller has only to be accepted. The learned counsel for the respondent could not point out any provision of law or any circumstances so as to hold that a driving licence was required for the operation of the Power Tiller. But in respect of other vehicles law specifically mention of the requirements of a driving licence.;

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