In a big relief to the drivers, the Ministry of Road Transport has recently issued a notification informing the general public that drivers do not need to carry physical copies of driving licence or any other vehicle related document for verification purpose anymore as electronic copies will be valid from now. As per the latest amendments in the IT Act 2000 and the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, digital driving license and vehicle’s RC papers stored in DigiLocker will be now legally recognised at par with the original documents. With immediate effect, the notification by the ministry is addressed to all the India State’s Principal Secretaries, All Secretaries of Department of Transport, DGPs/ ADGPs (Traffic) and all State/UT Transport Commissioners.
This powerful move is being seen in line with the numerous grievances and RTI applications received by the Ministry of Road Transport where vehicle owners raised the concern that the documents available in DigiLocker or the mParivahan app were not being considered valid by the traffic police or the motor vehicles department. With this notification in place, the citizen can now produce the transport-related documents in physical or electronic form on demand by any police officer in uniform or any other officer authorised by the state government in the regard. However, the citizens must note that a scanned copy of any of these documents will not be acceptable to the authorities and people will have to store the required vehicle documents on their smartphones on ‘DigiLocker’, an application controlled and operated by the Central government.
The service is part of Digital India scheme, which allows people to store certain official documents on the cloud while eliminating the need to carry important physical documents. People can easily download the app from Google Play Store or App Store and the documents will automatically get validated once uploaded in the app as they are directly issued by the concerned authorities.
The notification is a big relief for the drivers as the previous law demanded them to present the physical documents (e.g. DL, RC, Pollution Check, and Insurance) as proof of eligibility to drive on Indian roads. This was a major concern not only for the drivers but even for the entire ecosystem including law and enforcement machinery, and the insurance industry. There were numerous problems that were being faced by the drivers in India due to the existing law including risk of misplacing DL/ losing it to theft, disfigured/torn documents, long discussions with the traffic police to prove the veracity of the documents, and delay in getting the physical documents from the concerned authorities.
Yet another common problem that the drivers in India face is that the hard copy delivery of insurance certificate is typically delayed on an average by 15-20 days. Moreover, as per a recent survey, on an average a driver gets delayed by 15 min to 4 hours in reaching the destination when asked for physical documents as proof of eligibility to drive on Indian roads. Fortunately, with the implementation of the new law, most of these concerns will be addressed.
From the last few years, numerous authorities including insurers, marketplaces, consumer rights body etc. have been trying hard to bring in amendment in the current IT Act 2000 and the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. The authorities have been demanding to authenticate the soft copy of insurance plans. In all these years, numerous submissions were made to the government to make amendment in the current law.