New Delhi: The Centre is in the process of linking driving licences with Aadhaar number to weed out fake licences and a software for this covering all states on a real-time basis is under preparation, the Supreme Court was told today.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was informed about it by a court-appointed committee on road safety headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice KS Radhakrishnan.
This assumes significance as a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is currently hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the enabling 2016 law.
The committee, in its report filed in the top court, said it had held a meeting on November 28 last year with the joint secretary of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to discuss several issues, including procurement of fake licences and how to eliminate it.
“On the issue of fake licences, joint secretary, MoRTH informed that NIC (national informatics centre) is now preparing ‘Sarthi-4’ under which all the licences would be linked to Aadhaar,” the report said.
“This software will cover all the states on a real-time basis and it will not be possible for anyone to get the duplicate or fake licence anywhere in the country,” it said.
The advocate representing the committee told the bench that the panel was scheduled to have a meeting with the MoRTH and other authorities concerned on 22-23 February to discuss compliance of directions given by the apex court earlier.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the ministry, told the bench that fatalities in road accidents in India have gone down by around three percent in 2017 as compared to 2016.
“The committee has since received data from all the states/UTs, except Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Daman and Diu which indicates that in the states/UTs which have submitted data, there has been a reduction of 4,558 fatalities (i.e. 3.0%) and 24,023 injuries (i.e. 5.0%) in 2017 as compared to 2016,” the report said.
The report said at the November 28 last year meeting, it was discussed that since driving licences were now in the form of a smart card, it’s punching in cases of default was likely to damage the data stored in it.
“Joint Secretary MoRTH pointed out that presently NIC is in the process of developing the central computerised database and all the states would be covered under the same.
“This database is likely to be effective from 1 October 2018,” it said, adding, that all the offences committed by the driver would be recorded in this database and there would be no necessity for punching of driving licences.
The court, while posting the matter for hearing on 23 April, said that the committee should ensure compliance of its directions given earlier.
The apex court had in November last year issued a slew of directions on road safety and asked all states and UTs to set up a trauma centre in each district of the country and make safety norms part of school curriculum.
It had also directed that road safety education and counseling be made a part of school curriculum by the state boards by 1 April 2018, and at least one trauma care centre be set up in every district with an ambulance.
The court had issued its directions on a PIL raising the issue of road safety in the country.