Motor Vehicle Department yet to shed its English hangover - The New Indian Express

Motor Vehicle Department yet to shed its English hangover

Published: 08th August 2013 12:35 PM

Last Updated: 08th August 2013 12:35 PM

Ignorance of law is no excuse for breaking it. But what if the ignorance is due to the incapability in understanding the language used. It is observed that the majority of the driving population in the state cannot comprehend the legal as well as administrative terms in the official communication of the Motor Vehicle Department. Shockingly, many who use vehicles are not aware of the repercussions that lack of knowledge of the law would invite.

In a GO (Government Order) issued by the Transport Commissioner in 1993, Malayalam was acknowledged as the official language of the Motor Vehicle Department. Though the official communications should be made in Malayalam, most of it is still being done in English.

 The report submitted on the linguistic change in government offices in 2010, stated that only 37 per cent of the work was being carried out in the vernacular tongue. “After three years, the percentage has come down sharply,” said sources.

 Ernakulam is one of the places in the state where the number of vehicles is increasing rapidly. “Approximately, 50 per cent of them comes under public transport. Most of the drivers and permit holders are educationally backward and find it difficult to understand the Motor Vehicle Act or anything pertaining to it. Hence the rate of violations and accidents stand high,” they said.

 As a result, a huge chunk of the population whose means of livelihood is driving is exploited.

 “When the department charges an offence against anybody, it has to be written in legible Malayalam. Instead it is written in English, much to the confusion of the victim.

“It can break somebody’s life. Sadly, the least privileged are always at the receiving end,” they said.

Sources also said that apart from the Transport Commissioner’s order, it is mandatory that government offices use Malayalam for official communication.

 “The main offices such as district collectorate and district transport commissioner’s office are using the language comparatively well,” they said.

 However, B J Antony, RTO, said they were doing their best to use Malayalam. “The replies to queries and intimations are given in Malayalam,” he said.

 Sources said that petitions have been the District Collector but in vain.

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