The recent coronavirus pandemic and the national lockdown enforced to prevent its spread meant that a number of things came to a complete standstill. One of these was the services that were not deemed necessary, especially when it came to the renewal of driving documents. As a result, the government extended the validity of many documents up to 31 December 2020. However, if these documents are not renewed before the end of the year, the regulatory fines will become applicable. Below are some of these documents:Driving License:
A driving license is necessary to drive any vehicle on a public road anywhere in India. Since many people had to let their licenses expire during the lockdown period, the validity of these licenses was notionally extended till end of the year. However, post that, if you are found driving a vehicle in India without a valid driving license, you will have to pay INR 5,000 challan. So, get your license renewed immediately.
Now, this is where things get a bit complicated. The law mandates two wheeler insurance for bikes and scooters and car insurance
for car owners. The penalty for driving without insurance is Rs. 2000 and/or 3 months prison or community service in the first instance, and a fine that can go up to INR 4000 in case of subsequent offenses. However, the insurance mandated by the government is only a third-party liability policy, which is now valid till year-end. If you purchased comprehensive car or two wheeler insurance online you should renew it upon expiry, regardless of date. Remember that the comprehensive cover is not extended. Besides, It is always cheaper and wiser to buy car or two wheeler insurance policy online
rather than getting fined and having to pay thousands in challan.
Registration Certificate is the document that establishes the legal ownership and responsibility of a vehicle for a person. Every vehicle that is being driven in India must be registered with an authorised RTO. If you are caught driving any unregistered vehicle, car or two wheeler,you will be liable to pay a fine of INR 5,000 in the first instance. Every subsequent instance of driving a vehicle without registration will invite a challan of INR 10,000. Registration certificate validity has also been extended till 31 December 2020. If you are caught driving an unregistered vehicle after that, you will be liable for the above mentioned challan amount.
Commercial vehicle permit:
Commercial vehicles can only be legally driven if they have a valid permit along with the registration certificate and all other documents. Any person who is found to be driving a vehicle without permit shall be required to pay a fine of INR 10,000. Further, the court may also impose 6 months of imprisonment and/or community service. The government has increased the validity of active permits till 31 December 2020, but any person found driving a vehicle without permit in 2021 will be caught and required to pay the fine or can even be sent to jail or to do community service.
Remember that the fines that were revised on September 1, 2019 are much more stringent and the same are applicable all over India now. As the COVID 19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation, the Indian government has relaxed the timeline for the renewal of driving documents. However, it is ideal to get them renewed at the earliest to minimize the possibility of being fined.