Due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the validity of all expired transportation documents such as driving license, fitness, permit, registration among others has been extended until 30th September 2020, as per the latest advice from the Union Ministry of Road, Transportation, and Highways.
These are those transport-related documents whose validity could not be extended or not likely be granted due to lockdown and which had expired since 1st February 2020 or would expire till 30th September 2020.
"The validity of fitness, permit (all types), learner's license, driving license, registration or any other concerned document whose extension of validity could not or not likely to be granted due to lockdown and which had expired since 1st February 2020, or will expire till 30th September 2020, the same may be treated to be valid till 30th September 2020. Enforcement authorities may be advised to treat such documents valid till 30th September 2020," the ministry has written today to the Director-General of Police, principal secretaries in the department of transport and all transport commissioners of states and union territories.
This is the second time the union government has extended the validity of expired driving licenses or other transport documents. On 30th March 2020, it had advised states and union territories to extend the validity of such documents until 30th June 2020.
It is important to note here that the ministry, in a notification dated 21st May 2020, had relaxed the validity of the fee, additional fee under Rule 32 or Rule 81 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, till 31st July 2020.
The central government advised states and union territories to consider provisions available under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 or other such provisions available under other Acts, for considering relaxation in requirement of a permit, or fees or taxes for renewal/penalty for permits, etc. to provide relief during these extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19.
As per this, the fees paid on or after 1st February 2020, for these activities such as renewal, will continue to remain valid even if the process is not completed. "And if there is a delay in paying the fees from 1st February 2020, till the period of lockdown, there would not be any additional or late fee to be charged for such delays till 31st July 2020," the notification had said.
Had the date not been extended, then as per the act, driving your car without a valid license would have cost you Rs 5,000.
In its press release, the ministry said, "The decision was taken to facilitate people facing difficulties in renewing the validity of various motor vehicle documents due to nationwide lockdown in the country and closure of government transport offices."
Maharashtra has 50 RTO and deputy RTO offices across the state.
The commissioner has instructed all the RTOs to curtail appointments to 10 percent of the normal quantum for procuring learning licenses till the month-end.
The circular also directed the RTOs to conduct oral tests by calling the applicants separately instead of holding computerized tests.
RTOs should conduct permanent license tests only for those drivers, whose license is going to expire by this month-end and postpone all other appointments to the next month.
Instructing RTOs to ensure minimum crowd at offices, the circular also asked them to carry on new vehicle registration work as usual, besides re-registration of old vehicles.
"Works such as driving license renewal, vehicle re-registration, fitness certificate renewal, and works related to permit should be conducted till March 31, while works such as vehicle transfer and hypothecation should be postponed," it stated.
The circular also instructed RTO inspectors to wear proper safety gear such as masks and gloves while conducting vehicle fitness tests.
An RTO officer said the circular won't serve the purpose of reducing crowd as on average 350 people visit RTO offices per day for attending license tests.
He further stated that appointments for the next one to three months are full.