CHENNAI: Did you receive the forward message assuring that you only need to show the digital version of the driving licence on digilocker? Well, that was exactly what Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari promised a year ago. But if you try this when venturing out on the streets on Friday, the day from when carrying original document has been made mandatory, you may end up with a fine or worse.
Digilocker is an online facility offered by the Centre, and its purpose includes storing documents like driving licences that are used often and lost frequently. The people could use it for purposes as varied as job interview and even verification at airports where the documents would be considered original for all purposes.
However, after messages spread on various platforms on Thursday assuring people that they do not have to carry the original licence document from Friday as mandated by the State transport department circular, the Chennai city police clarified that they have not received any direction so far on exempting those with digital copies.
“A few police officers who may have registered on digilocker after being aware of the app may inspect through it,” said a senior officer. As it is mandatory for the officer to register and be granted access so as to crosscheck the document, it is unlikely to find an official who would let you go after being shown the digital document.
However, as concerns have risen over the directive to carry original licence, the officer assured that the police did not have any plan to carry on any special drive to inspect if motorists were carrying the document. “During routine checks including for drunken driving, and overspeeding, the official will ask the driver to produce original licence,” he explained.
Though it took an unverified message forward to remind about the facility, the idea of using a digital respository could be a safer bet for those with smartphones. Using digilocker, citizens can save their e-documents in a central repository, which can be seen on demand.
The important drawback is that the inspecting officer also should be registered as a requester on the app to crosscheck the documents. The more obvious drawback in India is the patchy internet connectivity.
Why it’s not cool
“What is your difficulty in carrying the original driving licence?” Madras HC Chief Justice Indira Banerjee had asked petitioner ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy a couple of days ago in the court. Here are some of the problems and fears people shared with Team Express
Fear of losing original. One has to lodge a plaint with police and wait for a month before applying for a new one. The state of the driver’s right to drive during this time is ambiguous, particularly if they drive for a living
Fear of police detaining the license to draw bribes
Lorry or car owners retain the original document of the driver as leverage to protect their vehicles from being stolen. The new order makes vehicle owners vulnerable
Wallet theft during accidents
Wear and tear or breakage
Driver’s license that is used as an ID for property transaction, applications, etc cannot be used if the police has detained the original
If documents saved under Digilocker - from birth certificate to education records - are valid proof, why should the State insist on the original DL?
In any case, faulty road design is more to blame for accidents than the DL