Confusion over validity of DigiLocker documents

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The verification of transport-related documents through DigiLocker, an ambitious project pushed by the Union government, has not taken off as the authorities are yet to decide on the modalities of implementation.

According to the plan, the public should be able to pull the documents from the DigiLocker app when prompted by the traffic police. There is no need to carry a physical copy of driving licences, registration and emission certificates. These can be locked up in a safe without worrying about losing or misplacing them. 

The Centre, however, is not satisfied with the progress of the scheme. "This ministry has received a number of grievances/RTI applications where citizens have raised issues that the documents available in the DigiLocker or mParihavan app are not considered valid by the traffic police or motor vehicles department. (The documents) are deemed to be legally recognised on par with the original documents," it has written to the state governments.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways took to the DigiLocker system last year. In February, the State Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety wrote to the police to recognise as valid the electronic documents pulled from the DigiLocker.

However, the project is yet to take off, with many complaining that the police refuse to recognise the electronic version of the documents.

Additional director general of police R Hithendra said he was aware of the instances where documents in DigiLocker were not accepted. "We have had complaints from citizens as well as police personnel. For the police, the main problem has been the procedure to adopt when a rider or driver is involved in a traffic violation," he said.

Hithendra explained that since a violator using the DigiLocker facility may not have a physical copy on him, the procedure involving seizure of documents has become complicated. "We have written to officials in this regard. We want to know how to proceed in such cases," he said.

Joint commissioner (e-governance) M P Omkareshwari said the police can insist on a physical copy for seizure. "The traffic police can issue a notice to violators and insist that they surrender the physical copy. At some places, the e-challan system has been introduced to fine violators. The entire system will be streamlined in the coming days," she said.

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