Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Scrap driving licences of those who can't read: HC

Observing that an illiterate person is "virtually a menace for pedestrians" on the road, a single bench of the Rajasthan high court has directed the state government to withdraw driving licences given to persons who can't read signboards, warning signs and other signals. 

The court has directed the transport authorities to issue appropriate instructions, lay down guidelines and take action in cases where licenses were issued to persons unable to read and write.

While dismissing the writ petition of one Deepak Singh, who requested the court to direct the transport department to issue him a driving licence for a heavy motor vehicle (HMV) though he was illiterate, Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma said, "In the opinion of the court, Motor Vehicle Rules are required to be framed not only for the benefit of persons who seek licences but must also take into consideration the public who are using the roads. "

"A licence cannot be allowed to be issued to an illiterate person to drive any kind of vehicle as he is virtually a menace for pedestrians. He would not be in a position to understand road signs and notices of caution written on the boards for human safety on the highways as well as on the roads in the cities." 

Central government officials said though the Central Motor Vehicle Rules have no provision of a minimum qualification to obtain a driving licence for a non-commercial LMV, every applicant has to pass the test, which comprises reading road and traffic signs and some objective questions.

It is only for a driving licence for a commercial vehicle that an applicant must have a Class-VIII pass certificate . Following a Supreme Court order of July 2017, the road transport ministry had in April 2018 done away with the requirement of a commercial licence for driving taxis, three-wheelers, e-rickshaws and two-wheelers (food delivery, etc).

This allowed drivers to use their private licences to drive commecrial LMVs. "So, practically, the minimum qualification of Class VIII is applicable only for obtaining a licence to drive an HMV, which includes trucks and buses," said a government official.

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