Cancel driving license of illiterates as they cannot read road signs – High Court

Definition of literate as per census - An individual above 7 years of age, who can read as well as write. If you can read and not write, or vice versa, are considered illeterates.

Road sign
Image for reference

As private schooling and tuition fees in India continue to rise, the public education system goes awry after class VIII, with government school students scrambling for admission in government or low income schools that teach class IX and X students. The situation gets even more precarious after the SSC exams, as even those who get to this level, consider dropping out.

So, while there’s a certification at hand, the reading and application level of what has been taught comes to naught once too often. The problem we’re then left reeling with is illiteracy. And since jobs are quite literally tailor-made to your education degree, more often than not drivers find themselves without degree education and keeping afloat in the quagmire of illiteracy.

The Rajasthan High Court has ordered cancellation of all light motor vehicle driving licences issued to illiterate persons. The order comes to light in response to a person who was seeking a licence to drive a transport vehicle. He had already been issued a license to drive a LMV thirteen years earlier. The court opined that Motor Vehicle Rules are to be framed to not only benefit those seeking a licence but also the public and road users.

Road sign
Literacy test – Road sign telling motorists to drive / ride carefully as there is a pedestrian crossing ahead. Interestingly, it is hung upside down. Image for reference.

In simple terms, the court opines no type of driving licence can be issued to an illiterate person, as the same is virtually a menace to pedestrians owing to their inability to understand road signs and caution notices designed for human safety on all roads.

Keeping this in mind, the court has asked for cancellation of all such licences, and State Transport Authorities have been directed to issue appropriate instructions in this regard laying down guidelines.

Which way developments sway will be known on 15th July 2019. State Authorities are required to submit a report to the court within a month’s time. The court has asked for action to be taken in case of licences being issued to people who are unable to read and write. This order of High Court can have huge ramifications as there are thousands of drivers who earn their livelyhood by driving an LCV.

The court has considered the huge number of road accident deaths which take place in India, while giving this judgement. In India, about 1.47 lakh people die in road crashes annually. The country accounts for 11 percent of global road accident fatalities. In 2018, India registered 150,785 road fatalities.