Can a person be denied a learner’s licence unless he has held a driving licence for at least a year? Yes, if the Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2014, passed by Lok Sabha is anything to go by.
“Under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, no person can be granted a learner’s licence to drive a transport vehicle unless he has held the driving licence for a period of at least one year,” the Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2014 has stated.
The blooper was pointed out by BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy as the discussion was nearing its end. “If you read this in English, it means that if you want a learner’s licence, you must have a driving licence which sould have been alive for at least a year prior to your application for a learner’s licence,” he said. Clearly missing Satpathy’s point, Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari responded: “This was in the old law”.
“If you need a commercial licence, you need to get a learning (sic) licence first…that will get permanent after one year…then after a gap of one year one gets a permanent licence. To avoid this, we have corrected the rule. Now, you will get a learning (sic) licence…you’ll get a 10-day training from either the association or manufacturer…after that you will directly get a commercial licence for e-rickshaw,” Gadkari said, explaining that the government was trying to ensure that e-rickshaw drivers don’t have to wait for a year-and-a-half for a commercial licence.
The discussion also witnessed interesting exchanges when Parliamentary Affairs minster M Venkaiah Naidu said that once they are allowed to ply again, he and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge will come to Parliament in e-rickshaws so that there is no pollution. To this, Gadkari said, “In old days, when petrol prices increased, Chandrashekhar ji had come to Parliament on a cycle. This (e-rickshaw) is a green vehicle…it will be welcomed by all.”
“Venkaiahji will fit in easily. But won’t Kharge sahab need to lose weight?” Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot quipped. “Thawar Chandji, I assure you that an e-rickshaw can accommodate four people my size. By the way, I have reduced 40 kilograms,” Gadkari shot back, also telling Kharge that both of them had almost similar weights.