In India, it is a common practice to drive a car/ride a bike with a photocopy or a laminated copy of the driver’s license. Cops in many cities used to be fine with it. Now though, everything has changed. You could be jailed for up to 3 months if found riding/driving without an ‘Original’ driving license.
Last month, a Tamilnadu government notification was issued. This notification said that everyone driving must carry their original driver’s license while driving/riding. The Tamil Nadu police were told to implement this strictly from the 1st of September. The Tamil Nadu Lorry Owner’s Federation decided to file a petition against that. The Madras high court refused to rule against the government’s notification.
When the hearing of the petition came up before Justice M.Duraiswamy, Advocate General Vijay Narayan informed the court that authorities would not implement the rule till 5th September, which is today. The judge also tagged the PIL raised before the first bench comprising of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M.Sundar. However the bench refused to extend the interim order.
So if you do not have your original license, you can be prosecuted for it. The fine is Rs 500 and it could also include jail time of upto 3 months, or even both, making it very necessary to carry your original license.
But is this new?
No, this is not new. According to Section 130 of the Motor Vehicle Act, all documents that are required to be carried by the driver/rider have to be original. However, the police was not implementing it hard enough and was letting people go for using duplicate copies.
However, from now on, this will not continue. So, make sure to have your original driver’s license if you plan to be behind the wheel or you may end up behind bars for upto 3 months. While there has been widespread resentment on the same, the court has upheld the decision saying that original documents need to be kept in the vehicle.