Last week Traffic Court Additional Special Mobile Magistrate Srinagar directed RTO Kashmir to submit a report from ARTOs regarding the rationale behind the current driving test conducted by Regional Traffic Office Kashmir. (https://www.greaterkashmir.com/srinagar/driving-test-for-issuance-of-license-not-in-consonance-with-law.)
Current Driving Test known as Reverse Driving Test
In current times, clearing driving tests for vehicle licenses is tough and complex. As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, for obtaining a driving license, one has to drive his vehicle front and reverse between a pole, forming a big eight. Such a driving test is known as Reverse Driving Test.
Almost the majority of drivers get stuck in reverse and fail the driving test, and out of sheer desperation they do what is done by everyone i.e., pay the agents of RTO and ARTO offices and get their driving license issued. This malpractice has become a norm across Jammu and Kashmir and is one of the reasons for rising accidents and traffic related violence across J&K.
Current Driving Test is against Motor Vehicle Act and Rules
Driving test and its procedure come under Motor Vehicle Act and Rules. There is no procedure of conducting driving tests in the Motor Vehicle Act as the Central Motor Vehicle Rules have prescribed a proper and elaborate procedure in its Section 15.
Section 15 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules laid down rules by which driver is to be tested whether he or she can drive car, whether driver is taking precautions before driving, whether driver is acquainted about use of gears, use of accelerator, regulating speed as per traffic, acting correctly during pedestrian crossing, how driver is controlling his car, how he is driving downhill and changing gear during downhill, how driver uses hand brake, how driver is overtaking his vehicle, use of mirror view, checking drivers presence of mind etc.
Let’s take an example, I drive a car from my residence to the Driving Test ground which is located at National Highway, one of the busiest roads. At the spot I come to know that I am a bad driver because I couldn’t reverse the car and my license application was rejected.
My question is: How on earth did I reach this place?
Surprisingly in Jammu and Kashmir, ARTOs and RTOs seem not at all bothered regarding implementing the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, except ARTO Baramulla who deserves praise and acknowledgement for implementing the same.
Case in Traffic Court
Naved Bukhtiyar, an RTI activist and researcher, has approached Traffic Court Srinagar seeking status from RTO regarding non implementation of Section 15 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, and seeking detail from RTO and ARTO regarding the rationale of Current Driving Test conducted by RTO office.
I appeared on behalf of the applicant contending that the present driving test conducted by ARTO Srinagar is outdated and is not backed by law and rules, and has led to Agent Culture and malpractice by way of issuing illegal driving licenses.
Current Driving Test is unreasonable and unscientific and against Motor Vehicle Act and Rules.
I request the Office of Lieutenant Governor, Commissioner Secretary Transport Department, RTO Kashmir to implement Section 15 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 as Driving Test Procedure across Jammu and Kashmir in order to ensure transparency and accountability for obtaining driving licenses.
Badrul Duja is a practicing advocate, and an RTI activist, based in Srinagar.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.