The petitioner who lost middle fingers on his right hand was found to be unfit for driving

The Madras High Court Bench here has refused to order revocation of a driving licence which was cancelled by the Regional Transport Officer (Madurai North) after the holder was found to be unfit to drive two- wheelers and cars in crowded public pathways and traffic bottlenecks owing to loss of middle fingers on his right hand.

Justice K. Chandru dismissed a writ petition filed by him after conducing two tests, one by a Motor Vehicle Inspector attached to the RTO (Madurai North) office and another by the RTO office (Madurai South). The petitioner was found to be unfit to drive motor vehicles in both the tests. His handling of the indicator lever and the grip over the steering wheel were not satisfactory.

The petitioner, M. Shanmugakumar, had approached the court in January this year against cancellation of a driving licence held by him since November 12, 2009.

After receiving court notice, the RTO (Madurai North) filed a counter affidavit on April 5 stating that the petitioner had obtained the driving licence by concealing his disability during the initial driving test.

On coming to know about the disability, the officer made the petitioner undergo a driving test and found that he would not be able to drive any vehicle on public roads. It was further stated that the petitioner was unable even to affix his signature properly. Hence, his licence was cancelled by exercising powers conferred on the RTO under Section 16 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

The High Court on June 22 ordered to conduct a fresh driving test with respect to the petitioner. Accordingly, M. Karuppaiyan, Motor Vehicle Inspector (Grade-I) at the RTO (Madurai North), conducted a test on June 28 and concluded that it would be difficult for the petitioner to drive vehicles in thickly populated roads, narrow streets with sharp bends and muddy stretches.

However, the petitioner filed an objection memo on October 18 and alleged that the Motor Vehicle Inspector had wantonly made him drive a motorbike with a single hand during the test.

He also produced a medical certificate obtained from an orthopaedician attached to the Government Rajaji Hospital here to prove that he was fit to drive Light Motor Vehicles.

Hence, the court on October 20 ordered for yet another driving test and directed the RTO (Madurai South) to depute any one of his Motor Vehicle Inspectors to test the petitioner's driving skills.

The second report also was not in favour of the petitioner. Ultimately, the judge rejected the petitioner's plea after stating that there was no reason to disbelieve observations made by the competent authorities.