One of the good things to come out of Congress lead UPA Government is the RTI (Right to Information Act), which lets us, the common man have access to information residing with the government departments/ministries, in a bid to promote transparency and accountability.
Indian Government has even gone to the length of providing a way to file RTI Applications online through their online portal, RTI Online. Wherein you can file an RTI with any Central Government Ministry/Department and make the required payment (usually Rs. 10 per RTI) through internet banking, debit and credit cards. All of this sounds very easy and convenient, and believe me, to a certain degree it is. In fact it is as simple as filling out an easy one page form and making the payment online, just like you would at any ecommerce site.
So when little over a month ago, while talking with a friend, subject of Hill Driving License came up, I wanted to make sure I was correct in telling him that there is no such thing. Upon searching online, I could only find vague answers and opinions about it, but nothing concrete.
So I decided to file an RTI online, with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Hoping that I would get final and accurate answers to my queries, which would help settle this matter, once and for all.
Here are the questions I asked in my RTI application:
What is a Hill or Hazardous Endorsement for a driving license and for whom is it required?
Which states require Hill Driving license/endorsement?
Is Hill Driving license/endorsement required for driving personal vehicles (cars, SUVs, and two wheelers)?
Is Hill Driving license/endorsement required for driving taxis?
Is Hill Driving license/endorsement required for heavy vehicles?
How and where does one apply for Hill Driving license/endorsement?
What is the penalty for driving a vehicle in hills, without hill driving license/endorsement?
I had filed this RTI on 30th August 2013 and I finally received a response from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, yesterday, 5th October 2013, which is dated 1st October 2013 and states:
Please refer to your application dated 30.08.2013 received by the undersigned on 02.09.2013 under RTI Act, 2005.
2. Provision regarding issue of learner’s license and driving license are contained in Chapter II of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MV Act) and Chapter II of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 (CMVRs). Both MV Act and CMVRs are available on this Ministry’s Office Website: www.morth.nic.in. Educational qualification for drivers of goods carriages carrying dangerous or hazardous goods are prescribed in the rule 9 of CMVRs. The provisions regarding endorsement in the driving license to the effect that the holders of the driving is authorized to drive a goods carriage carrying goods of dangerous or hazardous nature, are contained in sub-rule (2) of the rule 9 of CMVRs.
3. The particulars of Appellate Authority are as under :-
Shri Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, Joint Secretary (Transport), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Transport Bhawan, 1, Parliament Street, New Delhi -110001 (Tel. No. 23351061).
Now it is extremely difficult for a lay person like me to make head or tails of what is written above and how it is relevant to the questions I asked in my RTI. Furthermore, I tried to have a quick glance at the Chapter II of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MV Act) and Chapter II of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 (CMVRs), I couldn’t find anything related to hill driving license, leading me to conclude that it isn’t required, though I am still not 100% sure, because I neither have the time, nor the intellectual fortitude to swift through these entire chapters to confirm the same (in case you know for certain, please let me know by commenting below).
This experience has taught me one thing, Government and Politicians can bring in all the legislations and laws they want, at the end of the day, it is the common man, sitting in a government office, who has to implement these and without proper implementation, these rules and laws are worthless, because they raise a hope in the heart and mind of the populace, which comes crashing down with answers like these!