Fact check: Is it true that you don’t need to carry a physical driving licence anymore?

People can upload driving licence, registration certificate and emission certificate online and show it as valid proof in Karnataka. File Photo  

A message claiming that a driver need not carry his/her original or photocopies of vehicle papers such as driving licence or registration certificates anymore is doing the rounds on social media. The message further claims the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has recognised digital certificates and they can be treated on a par with original ones. How far is this true?

In 2016, the Union Government announced that it would be integrating driving licence and the vehicle’s registration certificate with the state-run Digital Locker System, DigiLocker, as part of paperless governance. Explaining the feature, Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari had said, “If someone is stopped anywhere, he or she can show (the) driving licence on mobile phone. This will benefit (the) common man and ensure a corruption-free, transparent system devoid of red-tapeism.”

The MoRTH also released mParivahan, an app that allows users to get details of vehicles such as owner name, vehicle manufacturer, insurance and fitness validity among others. The app also allows users to verify their driving licence details and create virtual driving licence and registration certificate.

Fact check: Is it true that you don’t need to carry a physical driving licence anymore?

The Ministry hopes DigiLocker and mParivahan would eliminate the necessity of physical vehicle documents in due course of time.

Does this mean physical papers are not needed anymore? The answer is no. Even though DigiLocker facilitates digital storage of these papers, policing is a State subject and not every State has accepted the digital version of certificates as a valid proof.

Tamil Nadu, for instance, has made it mandatory for motorists to carry their original driving licenses since September 2017. As per Section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, no person can drive a vehicle unless he/she holds an effective driving licence. Police personnel used to accept photocopies of driving licence as valid proof, but not any more in Tamil Nadu.

Also, the Chennai City Traffic Police has made it clear that ‘DigiLocker’ cannot be used by motorists in lieu of carrying original driving licence. “The idea of using the DigiLocker is only to keep documents safe. But there is no application tool either with the police personnel or transport authorities,” a senior police officer had said.

However, neighbouring Kerala and Karnataka accept digital versions exhibited through a DigiLocker.

On August 8, this year the MoRTH wrote to all Transport Secretaries, State Police chiefs, and State Transport Commissioners requesting them to accept documents presented through DigiLockers and mParivahan platforms as valid proofs. However, this has not been implemented across the country.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 5:17:24 AM |

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