High Court Ordered License Cancellation For Those Who Cannot Read & Write (Rajasthan)
A driving license is an important legal document, which is issued by a Government Authority to allow individuals to drive around their vehicles on public roads. It contains the name and address of the individual along with other important driving license details. In India, the rules and regulations regarding the issuance of a driver’s license are laid down in the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.
Educational qualification required for availing driver’s license
The Motor Vehicles Rules of India do not impose any educational qualification on the applicant to apply for a driving license. Any person who has attained the required age can apply for a driving license. Although for commercial vehicles the applicant has to pass the 8th standard, for non-commercial vehicles, no such criterion is mentioned. That means that even an illiterate person can apply for a driving license. This is a major drawback in the driving license procedure. How can one expect an illiterate person to read and understand different signs and symbols on the road? If he/she does not understand a particular sign, he/she will definitely fail to follow it. Failure to read and understand road signs and notices of cautions will result in an increased number of accidents on the road. Though the driving test requires the applicant to pass a written test based on road safety signs, it cannot guarantee that the person will remember these signs throughout his/her life unless he is educated.
Keeping in mind the dangers posed to pedestrians and other fellow travelers on road, the Rajasthan High Court passed a landmark judgment and ordered the cancelation of all light motor vehicle driving licenses that were issued to illiterate persons.
The Rationale Behind Such Judgment
This landmark judgment was a result of a writ petition filed by a Rajasthan resident. The writ petition was filed by the resident to plead the court to issue him a transport vehicle license on the basis of the fact that he has been driving a vehicle for the past 13 years. The applicant was already holding a license for a light motor vehicle. As a transport vehicle requires a class 8th certificate, he was not able to apply for the same. Due to which the writ petition was filed. On examination of his case, the Judge observed the fact that a petitioner is an illiterate person. He doesn’t have the basic knowledge of writing or reading. On such observations, the Court ruled a verdict that the applicant will not be issued any transport vehicle. Moreover, his existing licenses should also be canceled. Further, the Court ordered the State Transport Authority to immediately cancel driving licenses of illiterate persons in the state. The court specifically mentioned in the order that an illiterate person is virtually a menace for the pedestrians. The order also stated that the Motor Vehicle Rules shall be reframed making education qualification mandatory for driving license apply even for light motor vehicles. A timeline of 1 month is being given to the Transport Authority to their course of action on the above order.
Not only this order will be difficult to implement but it also is sure to stir a lot of debate. The livelihood of a lot of residents in the state depends on light motor vehicles, which will be at stake if the licenses are cancelled. Although it is of utmost importance for drivers to understand road safety signs and caution notices, canceling all existing licenses will create more trouble for the people. Also, in a corrupted country like India, arranging for a class 8th certificate is not a difficult task. Also, it is quite easy to clear the written driving license test with little preparation. Reframing the Motor Vehicle Rules will be a good decision but the written test should also be made a little more difficult for applying for physical or online driving license. This will help in testing the capabilities of the applicant. Additionally, other educative measures could be adopted to educate illiterate drivers to read and understand road safety signs and symbols. This way they can be given an opportunity to learn without putting their livelihood at stake.
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