In India, a valid driving license, insurance coverage and a Pollution Under Control Certificate are legal mandatory requirements for a car. An insurance coverage is mandated by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, for all cars plying on Indian roads. Similarly, the Central Motor Vehicle Rule, 1989 mandates the PUC Certification.
What is PUC Certificate?
The smoke emitted from vehicles, if left unchecked, could pollute the environment to a great extent. PUC is a certification mark that is provided to vehicles that undergo the PUC Test successfully. The certification indicates that the vehicle’s emissions are in alignment with standard pollution norms and are not harmful to the environment. All vehicles on Indian roads are mandated to carry a valid PUC certification.
Validity and Cost:
- When you purchase a new car, a PUC certificate is provided for it and the validity of this certificate is 1 year. Following that your car would need to undergo the PUC test at regular intervals and a new certificate will be issued each time.
- The validity of the new certificate is usually 6 months. In case an adverse reading is observed in the PUC test, the validity of the certificate will be decided on the basis of that reading.
- If cars exhibit higher levels of emission than the prescribed limits, the registration number of the vehicle will be informed to the RTO, Deputy RTO or Assistant RTO by the testing centre within one day.
- The cost of the PUC test is quite minimal. It varies from Rs. 60 to Rs. 100, based on the vehicle that is being tested and its fuel type.
PUC Test Procedure:
In the case of diesel vehicles, the accelerator is fully pressed and the readings of pollution levels are observed. This is repeated five times and the average constitutes the final reading.
For petrol vehicles, the car is kept idling without pressing the accelerator. Only one reading is taken and this constitutes the final reading.
Test Criteria and Certificate:
All vehicles that are tested for PUC should fall within the following limits.
|Vehicle Type||Percentage of CO||Hydrocarbon measured in ppm|
|2 and 3 wheeled vehicles (2 or 4 stroke) that are manufactured on or before 31st March 2000||4.5||9000|
|2 and 3 wheeled vehicles (2 stroke) that are manufactured after 31st March 2000||3.5||6000|
|2 and 3 wheeled vehicles (4 stroke) that are manufactured after 31st March 2000||3.5||4500|
|4 wheeled vehicles that are manufactured as per the Pre Bharat Stage II Norms||3||1500|
|4 wheeled vehicles that are manufactured as per the Pre Bharat Stage II, Stage III or subsequent Norms||0.5||750|
PUC testing can be done at any authorised petrol pumps or independent testing centres. The certificates are also issued at the location of the tests.
Importance of PUC Certificate:
The PUC certificate contains the following information,
- The serial number of the issued certificate
- The vehicle’s license plate number
- The date on which the test was conducted
- The expiry date of the PUC certificate
- The readings and observations from the test
PUC certificate is an important document that you should carry at all times when you are driving the tested vehicle. When requested by a traffic official, if you are unable to furnish this document, you will have to bear the penalties. You should also ensure that it is renewed as soon as it expires to avoid fines.
If a vehicle does not carry a valid PUC certificate, it is liable for prosecution as per Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The driver will be charged Rs. 1000 if it is a first-time offense, and Rs. 2000 for every subsequent offense.
In case you are carrying a valid PUC certificate, but your vehicle is visibly polluting the environment, the certificate of your vehicle will be cancelled and you will be required to procure a new certificate within 1 week. If you fail to do so, you will be prosecuted under Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
PUC Certification and Car Insurance Renewal:
Towards the end of 2017, the Supreme Court gave a nod to the recommendations raised by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) that focussed on battling air pollution in the country. The Supreme Court Bench with Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Madan B Lokur stated that it would be necessary to link the PUC Certificate with the car insurance policy of an individual for insurance renewal to be successful. The bench clearly specified that vehicles which do not conform to these rules will not be allowed to extend insurance coverage through renewal.
This was a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, as there have been reports of poor compliance with the PUC certification programme on a national level. It was observed that only 23% of the vehicles in Delhi attended PUC tests.
Some of the highlights of the Supreme Court directive are as follows:
- PUC centres allowed in every fuel station - Although there have been recommendations to reduce the number of PUC centres in Delhi and NCR on grounds of difficulty in supervision of these establishments, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) disagreed to this. MoRTH mentioned to the court that it would be ideal to have PUC centres in every fuel station. The court has agreed to this proposal with a rider, stating that each station should then be empanelled and listed on the MoRTH website. The court has further stated that the government should audit these stations regularly for compliance.
- Automatic online network to be set up for linking PUC data centres - The Supreme Court has accepted the recommendation to link PUC data centres automatically and mandate the prepayment of fees for PUC tests. There will also be a strict licensing system that includes the audit of PUC centres. These reforms will make sure that all the relevant tests are done and results are recorded.
- Recommendations on PUC norms improvement for pre-BSIV vehicles - There have been recommendations on making the PUC norms more stringent for pre-BSIV vehicles, implementation of driving emission testing for these vehicles, and integration of diagnostic systems. These recommendations have been contested by the Road Transport ministry and will be heard at a later date.
All in all, the Supreme Court directives will help in improving the compliance towards the PUC testing system. This is regarded as the first step towards fighting air pollution across the nation, and is not limited to the capital.
Pollution Under Control FAQs:
- Which vehicles require PUC Certification?
- Will I have to take a new PUC Certificate when I travel to a different state in India?
- Who has the authority to conduct a Pollution Under Control test?
- What are the requirements for undergoing a pollution check?
- When should a car be tested for pollution?
All motor vehicles plying on Indian roads are required to have a valid PUC Certificate.
No, the PUC Certificate is valid across the entire country.
The person conducting the PUC test should have a minimum qualification of a degree in motor mechanics or automobile engineering issued by a recognised body. The individual should also know the procedures involved in making minor repairs/adjustments on the vehicle that would bring down the pollution levels. These changes should also not bring about any negative impact on the engine performance.
You will have to take your car to the pollution testing centre and appear in person for the same. There is no other requirement for the pollution check.
You should conduct the PUC test when you buy a new vehicle. A PUC Certificate is always provided with the new car. This certificate will have a validity of 1 year. Following that you will have to get the vehicle certified again on a periodic basis.
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