Law Criminal law

A driving license is an official document issued by the Government of India, permitting individuals to drive a motor vehicle such as a car, motorbike, truck, bus, etc., on a public road, without any supervision. In India, the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 states that no individual without a valid driving license can drive a motor vehicle in a public place. A driving license is issued by the Road Transport Office (RTO) of a particular state.

A permanent driving license cannot be received right away as individuals need to follow a separate process. If you are practicing to drive a vehicle, you must first get a Learners License which acts as a provisional license. After a month of the issued learner’s license, you will have to appear for the test in front of an RTO authority, which upon proper examination, will declare whether you have passed the exam or not.

The RTO authority grants a valid driving license if you pass the test. Earlier, this procedure of obtaining a driving license was complicated. Individuals would have to go to the RTO Office and stand in long queues to fill the application form and get the process started. However, with the advent of online facilities that allow users to apply for a driving license from the comfort of their homes, getting a driving license has now become an easy task.

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Grounds on which license authority can suspend your license -

One must note that getting a driving license is not as easy as it sounds. Along with efficient driving skills, one must also be aware of the various traffic rules and regulations. One could face the problem of getting their driving license suspended if these set of rules and regulations are violated. Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act, of 1988 gives the licensing authority the power to revoke an individual’s driving license or disqualify a person from holding a driving license. The grounds on which the licensing authority can suspend a driving license are as follows:

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  1. The holder of the driving license is a habitual criminal or habitual drunkard
  2. The holder of the driving license is addicted to any narcotic drug
  3. The holder of the driving license has used any motor vehicle while committing a cognizable offense
  4. The holder of the driving license has, by his previous conduct as the driver of a motor vehicle, shown that his driving is likely to cause danger to the public
  5. The holder of the driving license has obtained a license to drive a motor vehicle by fraud or misrepresentation
  6. The holder of the driving license has committed any act which is likely to cause nuisance or danger to the public

Apart from the aforementioned grounds, the ‘Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety has issued directions to the effect that the driving license of an individual should be suspended for not less than three months for high-speed driving, carrying overload in goods carriage, carrying persons in goods carriage, drunken driving and using a mobile phone while driving.

The Delhi High Court, in the case of Ashish Gosain v. Department of Transport & Anr. Set up the procedure for suspension of driving license in India. According to the judgment, if the directions laid down by the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety are not followed, the enforcement officer or the traffic police officer has the authority to seize the driving license to initiate proceedings for suspension of the license under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 read with Rule 21 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989. The driver is notified about the driving license seizure through an acknowledgment letter that the officials sign.

Once the license is seized, it is forwarded to the Motor Licensing Officer of the Transport Department, who then issues a show-cause notice to the driver. The license holder is thus allowed to explain reasons why his license must not be suspended. If the Court is not satisfied with the given reasons, the driving license may get canceled or suspended for a period deemed fit by the Court. The driving license is sent to the authority by which the license was issued or last renewed upon suspension. The authority is to keep the license in its safe custody until the period of suspension ends.

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Step-by-step procedure to recover a suspended driving license in India

The procedure to recover a suspended license is a tedious one. This process can be explained as follows:

  1. The license holder, upon expiry of the suspension period, must make an application to the licensing authority that issued or last renewed the license.
  2. After the application is submitted to the licensing authority, the driver must undergo and pass a fresh test of competence to drive.
  3. After passing the driving test, the driver must produce a medical certificate to prove that his health conditions shall not hamper his ability to drive and will not cause harm to others.

Upon completion of the above steps, the driver is issued a valid driving license. It must be noted that if this procedure is not followed as soon as the period of suspension ends, the license holder shall be debarred from holding or obtaining a license to drive any motor vehicle.

Through the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, the Government of India aims to take steady steps to improve the services of issuing driving licenses and vehicle registration. Every citizen must follow all traffic rules and regulations, and guidelines regarding motor vehicles that the Government of India provides to avoid any road accidents. If the driving license is suspended, you must follow the rules set by the licensing authority and get back the license immediately after the suspension period ends. 

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Author: Jinal Vyas