Police can’t suspend driving licence: Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday reiterated that the police have no authority to suspend a driving licence.

Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya, while passing this order, directed the police to return a driving licence to petitioner Priyasha Bhattacharyya. In March 2020, Justice Debangsu Basak had passed a similar order.

On May 19, 2022, the petitioner was driving home to New Alipore from the South City Mall when her vehicle was intercepted by the traffic police. She was driving at a speed of 62.1 km/hr along a stretch with a speed limit of 30 km/hr. Her licence was seized by the police.

A couple of days later, she sent an e-mail to the police, requesting the return of her driving licence. She was informed that her driving licence had been suspended for 90 days.

Priyasha moved the high court through advocates Phiroze Edulji and Amrita Panja Moulick. Citing provisions under the Motor Vehicles Act and previous judgements, Edulji argued in court that the police can seize a licence but must hand it over to the motor vehicles department, which is the original issuer of the same. It is for this department to decide whether the licence has to be suspended or revoked.

Justice Bhattacharya upheld this argument and directed the police to return Priyasha’s licence within two weeks. However, she reminded the petitioner that she needs to behave more responsibly while driving and do nothing that endangers the well-being of others, whatever may be her urgency.

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