The Madras high court has ruled that it's compulsory to carry your original driver's license while driving or riding. The Chief Justice of Madras High Court Indira Banerjee categorically said that from September 5, 2017, onwards all motorists must carry original driving license with them.
Also, the Chief Justice of Madras HC refused to pass an interim order restricting the State police from insisting on original driving licenses from motorists.
On August 22, 2017, Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar announced that from September 1, 2017, the new rule would be implemented. The intention was to effectively cancel the licenses of offenders, which is currently a barrier as most drivers carry only photocopies.
Leading the first Division Bench along with Justice M. Sundar, the Chief Justice declined to extend an interim order passed by a single judge on September 1, 2017, after recording an undertaking given by the State to stop from demanding original licenses till September 5, 2017.
A writ petition from the TN Lorry Owners Federation came up before Justice M Duraiswamy on September 1, 2017, the Advocate-General, representing the government, submitted that the new rule would not be enforced till September 5, 2017.
The single judge had passed the order on a writ petition filed by the TN Lorry Owners Federation and ordered the High Court Registry to tag the case along with a public interest litigation petition pending before the Division Bench.
Since the writ petition was not filed before the Bench led by the Chief Justice, as directed by the single judge, the petitioner's counsel requested the Bench to take up the case on Friday and extend the single judge's interim order till then.
The Chief Justice of the Madras HC refused to either extend the single judge's order or pass any new interim orders on the issue after observing that every motorist must carry their original DL. Justice Banerjee later posted both the PIL and the writ petition for further hearing on Friday.
While carrying an original driving license could lead a possibility of loss and the tiresome and lengthy process of obtaining a duplicate DL from the RTO, photocopies of the DL could result in of malpractices.
The ruling by the Madras HC will rid the malpractices; however, the government functionaries like the RTO should make it accessible and easy to obtain a duplicate DL for an earnest citizen.