MV Act – Liability for vehicle modification rests with vehicle owner or manufacturer, not trader: Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court has ruled that the liability for vehicle modification rests with the owner or manufacturer of the vehicle and not the trader.

While going through the provisions of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicle Act and Amended Rule 100 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, the Single Bench of Judge Amit Rawal observed thus “Reading the same, the responsibility for modifying the vehicle rests with the owner or manufacturer of the vehicle and not the trader.”

The Court was dealing with a writ petition filed by merchants selling vehicle accessories and sun protection films, including enamel glasses and safety glasses for buildings and vehicles. Show cause notices were issued in this regard by the Ministère des Transports to the applicants.

Master D. Kishore, appearing for the petitioners argued that it would be a totally far-fetched exercise for the petitioners to respond to the show cause notice as the notices were not competent.

It was argued that the provisions of the sections referred to in the show cause notices issued by the Department of Transport would apply only to vehicle owners and manufacturers, but not to merchants.

The High Court, having taken cognizance of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act and Amended Rule 100 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, found that the liability for the modification of the vehicle lies with the owner or to the manufacturer of the vehicle and not to the trader.

“Thus, I am of the prima facie opinion that the opinions are not competent, therefore, the written jurisdiction of this Court can be exercised even without answering them.”ruled the Court when the case was published on November 15, 2022.

Case title – Abdul Sathar & Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors.

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