Documents Required To Drive A Car In India

Driving a vehicle on Indian roads is nothing short of an adventure. With the condition of city roads in a plight, it is necessary that you are armed with the most effective insurance policy when you go out for a drive. To add to the woes, the drivers on Indian roads do not seem to understand the significance of defensive driving. Instead, switching lanes without indication, overtaking from the wrong side, and jumping signals are the semblance of normalcy.

According to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, every driver is required to be in possession of certain documents. Here, we elaborate on the significance of each of these documents.

Documents That All Car Owners Should Have:

Every car owner should have the following documents pertaining to the vehicle. Not being in possession of these papers can invite heavy fines.

  1. Registration Certificate (RC) - The registration certificate of a vehicle is an official document that serves as proof of its registration. It is used by the government for ensuring that all vehicles on the road are recorded in the vehicle register that is maintained at a national level. The registration certificate should be applied for by the owner of the vehicle at the Regional Transport Office (RTO). The application should be made within 7 days of purchase of the car. This is also the most important document that you should carry with you when driving.
  2. PUC Certificate - The Pollution under Control (PUC) Certificate is provided to a vehicle that passes an emission test. The certificate indicates that the car meets the pollution control norms. The PUC Certificate is a mandatory document that every vehicle should have. Failure to produce the same at the time of an inspection can result in penalties. There are specific ways in which the emissions are evaluated. The PUC test can be conducted at authorised testing centres that are mostly seen at petrol pumps.
  3. Driving License - In order to drive a two-wheeler or four-wheeler in India, it is mandatory to have a driving license (DL). This is defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It is not possible to receive a permanent license right after an individual applies for it. He/she will have to obtain the learner’s license first. After a month of issuance of the learner’s license, the individual has to appear for a driving test. An RTO personnel will examine the driving of the individual and declare whether he/she has passed the test or not. The DL will be issued only if the individual has passed the test. After issuance, the DL is a document that should be carried by the driver at all times. This also serves as a valid identity proof for various purposes.
  4. Insurance Policy - The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, mandates that every vehicle is insured to legally be on the roads. The minimum level of insurance mandated is the third-party liability coverage. However, if the car owner requires additional protection, he can opt for a comprehensive car insurance plan. The comprehensive policy, apart from providing exhaustive insurance protection, can also be enhanced through add-on covers that can be bought separately from the insurer. It is necessary to carry the certificate of insurance when the vehicle is on the road. The actual policy documentation can be kept in some safe place.
  5. Certificate of fitness/Required permits - If you own a vehicle that is used for commercial purposes, you should have the necessary permits. Another important document that is needed is the fitness certificate. This is an official document that certifies that the car is fit for being used in public places.

If you have been asked to pull over by a police official, you should be able to provide the aforementioned documents, as per the law. The original documents or attested photocopies should be produced. If you do not have the necessary documents, you are liable to pay a fine. If you drive without a valid license or car insurance policy, you may face heavy fines or even a jail term.

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