The Union government has extended till September 30 the validity of driving licenses, vehicle registration certificates, fitness certificates, and all kinds of permits that expired after February 2020 and could not be renewed because of the restrictions imposed to check the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an advisory, the road transport and highways ministry on Thursday directed transport departments against prosecuting motorists using documents that expired since February last year.
Driving without a valid license attracts a penalty of ₹5,000, while the penalties for other invalid documents are ₹5,000 (registration certificate), ₹10,000 (permit for commercial vehicles), ₹2,000-5,000 (fitness certificate for goods vehicles).
Officials clarified that an extension has not been granted for expired Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates.
Through another notification, the ministry has also created a new uniform PUC certificate format and mandated all states to link their PUC database with the national register. The “One nation, One PUC” does away with the rule to get new PUC certificates when moving to another state and all new certificates will have a QR code with details of the vehicle, its emission level and its owner. For the first time, a rejection slip will also be issued if the emission is more than the prescribed level, so the vehicle can be serviced or used at other centres in case pollution-checking devices are not working.
“…it is advised that the validity of all the referred documents, whose extension of validity could not or was not likely granted due to lockdown and which had expired since the 1st of Feb, 2020, or would expire by 30th September, 2021, the same may be treated to be valid till 30th September, 2021,” said the advisory. “All the states and Union Territories are requested to implement this advisory in letter and spirit so that the citizens, transporters and various other organisations, which are operating under this difficult time, may not get harassed and face difficulties,” it added.
The Delhi transport department is expected to issue a specific order following the Centre’s note, officials said. This is the sixth such extension after earlier advisories in this regard.
A transport department official requested people against queuing up at Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Delhi unless they wanted a learner or permanent license for the first time. “The ministry has extended the validity of fitness, permits, licenses, registration or other documents under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, till September 30,” said the official, who asked not to be named.
The state transport department said it was burdened with a deluge of queries about driving licenses, fitness certificates, and permit renewals. The process of getting driving licences involves a wait of up to two months. The RTO at New Delhi’s Sarai Kale Khan is one of the busiest transport offices in the city, conducting up to 250 driving tests on its semi-automatic driving test tracks every day before the pandemic. Around 80 tests are conducted every day these days.