Citing the provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act, the road transport ministry has asked the traffic police and state transport departments not to insist on original (hard copy) documents like driving licence, registration certificate and insurance papers for verification. It said any of these documents in “electronic form” authenticated through the DigiLocker or mParivahan apps of the government should be treated as valid.
This means the traffic police can record violations relating to drivers and vehicles by logging on to the central database using their handheld devices or mobile phones to read the QR code of the electronic documents rather than taking away the originals.
There have been many instances of the impounded documents getting lost once the traffic police take them away for violations such as speeding, jumping traffic signals or using a phone while driving.
In several cases, people had to lodge complaints of lost documents to get a new one after the transport departments failed to trace the impounded ones.
According to the road transport ministry’s advisory, offences of drivers or vehicles are anyway reflected in the Vahan and Sarathi databases electronically through the eChallan system and “there is no requirement of a physical seizure of such documents”.
The ministry said the electronic records available on DigiLocker or mParivahan are deemed to be legally recognised on a par with the original documents as per provisions of the IT Act, 2000. It added the documents available in the “electronic form” are valid under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and be treated on a par with the certificates issued by the transport authorities. While the DigiLocker app is available on all phones, mParivahan is available on Android phones but not on phones which run on Apple’s iOS platform.
Ministry officials said mParivahan will be available on Apple phones in the next 7-10 days.
TOI had first reported on July 17 about the government’s proposal to make it mandatory for traffic and transport enforcement authorities to accept the digital version of vehicle documents.
The advisory said, “If the vehicle registration details on the mParivahan/eChallan app contain the details of the insurance policy, then the requirement of a physical copy of the insurance certificate is not to be enforced.”
In its advisory, the ministry said it had been receiving grievances and RTI applications from citizens on how the traffic police and transport departments in states were not considering the digital format of such documents as valid ones.