Shivmurthappa Vs. The State of Maharashtra
 INSC 832 (12
K. Ramaswamy, K. Hansaria B.L. (J)
1996 SCC (2) 36 JT 1995 (9) 341 1995 SCALE (7)325
O R D
not is dispute that the truck of the appellant was seized for non-payment of
the tax under Motor Vehicles Act and he has still not discharged the liability.
The only question is whether the State is vicariously liable for damages for
seizure of the vehicle. The trial court though found that the seizure was
illegal due to incompetency of the officer to seize the vehicle, refused to
grant the relief of damages on the ground that the appellant contributed to the
damages since there was neither a stay by any competent court to take delivery
of possession of the truck to the appellant nor the appellant made any attempt
to take possession of the truck. On appeal, the High Court reversed the finding
of the incompetence of the officer to seize the truck. It found that the police
officer was competent in law to take possession of the vehicle for the purpose
of enforcing the liability to pay tax under Motor Vehicles Act. It concurred
with contributory negligence on the part of the appellant. Thus this appeal by
special leave against the judgment and decree of the High Court of Bombay in
Appeal No.301/69, dated 28.4.1977.
view of the admitted position that the appellant has not discharged the
liability to pay the tax, the obligation still subsists. The seizure for
enforcement of the tax liability is, therefore, valid in law. The finding that
the appellant had in fact contributed for the damages suffered by him due to
latches on his part, namely, neither he attempted to take possession and there
is no stay on the delivery of the possession nor make use of the vehicle is
also a finding of fact. Under those circumstances, the State is not vicariously
liable to pay the damages to the appellant.
appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs.