Sundar Committee also suggests portability of car registration number

Your driving licence will now bear a unique number and you will also enjoy portability of your car registration number, but you will have to go through a two-stage process to obtain a driving licence.

These user-friendly changes have been mooted by the S. Sundar Committee in a bid to streamline the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways set up the committee under the chairmanship of the retired IAS officer, in the light of the recommendations by a parliamentary panel to comprehensively review the Act and incorporate the practices followed in China and Japan.

On the formal submission of the Sundar report, the Ministry is likely to introduce a bill in the budget session of Parliament.

Underscoring a flaw in the present law, which does not provide for allotting numbers for the driving licence, resulting in issuance of the same number for a new licence or a duplicate issued by a different RTO even within the State and thus giving scope for issuance of a fake licence, the committee suggested that a unique number be issued to every licensee.

The scheme will enable the linking of the driving licence with the Unique Identification Number to be issued by the UIDAI.

Categories redefined

To ensure better driving and road safety, there will be different categories of licences. The committee has redefined the categories of vehicles and the classes of vehicles against each category, and suggested the need for a specific authorisation to use a vehicle for a specific purpose. A two-stage procedure has been suggested for grant of the licence and subsequent authorisation where necessary.

Under the proposed law, the validity of a driving licence for a non-transport vehicle will be for 20 years or until the holder attains the age of 50. It could be renewed every five years till the age of 70 and thereafter renewal will be based on medical certificate.

For a transport vehicle, the driving licence will be for three years and it will be renewed thereafter for periods of five years.

The committee has suggested portability of registration numbers allowing the original registration number to remain valid throughout the country instead of changing it with a shift in residence or place of business from one State to another. The implementation of this provision will start with non-transport vehicles.

Centre to fix periodicity

Doing away with the present system of registering non-transport vehicles for 15 years with no requirement of a fitness certificate till the end of this period, the committee has called for a change and left it to the Union government to fix the periodicity.

But, for transport vehicles it suggested that the validity period be initially for two years and that the fitness certificate be obtained annually.

The government will also provide for disposal of vehicles and components thereof when they cease to be roadworthy.

The committee has suggested that the Centre withdraw protection to state transport undertakings and enable them to use both the public and private sectors to provide public transport.

To put a stop to overloading, both the owner and the consignor will be presumed to have committed the offence.