There have been many instances in the past where commuters have been caught by the traffic police for faulty number plates, while government vehicles have been royally excused. But this discrimination might soon change, as the Transport Department is all geared up to implement the High Security Number Plates (HSNP) into action.
Reliable, useful journalism needs your support.
Over 600 readers have donated over the years, to make articles like this one possible. We need your support to help Citizen Matters sustain and grow. Please do contribute today. Donate now
What is a HSNP?
As per Central Motor Vehicle Rules 50 and 51, it is a number plate which will have a hologram of the Ashoka Chakra (with the four lions), IND written in bold blue colour on the extreme left centre of the plate and the PCIN (permanent consecutive identification number).This will be laser-edged on the number plate.
A High Security Number Plate will contain:
- Chromium hologram.
- A retro-reflective film, bearing a verification inscription ’India’ at 45 degree inclination.
- Laser numbering, which is unique in nature containing alpha-numeric identification of both Testing Agencies and the manufacturers.
- The Registration numbers to be embossed on the plates.
- In case of rear registration plate, same to be fitted with a non-reusable snap lock to make it tamper proof.
- A Chromium based third registration plate in the form of sticker is to be attached to the wind shield, wherein the number of engine and chassis are indicated along with the name of registering authority. If tampered with, it self destructs.
- In front and rear registration plates, letter IND in blue color is hot stamped.
- Letters ’IND’ in blue colour on extreme left centre of the plates.
Also called as High Security Registration Number, HSNP has been introduced already by Delhi, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. Even in Bangalore, one can get High Security Number Plates certified by the RTO, but they do not have chips, not tamper-proof and easily removable. Many people think this is a type of scam, so do not choose to go for HSNP. The official notification is yet to be issued in this regard.
High Security Number Plates applicable for all, but..?
According to Bangalore Traffic Police Department statistics, between January 1 and May 31 in 2013 alone, 17,337 cases have been booked for faulty number plates. This includes writing only in Kannada, fancy number plates which do not adhere to the designated size, or even illegible writing. Last year the police had booked 23,917 cases from January to December.
Additional zonal police commissioner (Traffic) Bangalore, M A Saleemsays special drives were conducted this year to book the offenders. However this list does not include government vehicles as the Transport Department exempts them, even though writing anything on the number plate apart from the number is a crime.
Number of vehicles in Bangalore: 45 lakh (as per Traffic Police Department)
Number of RTOs in Bangalore:10
Number of ARTO checkposts in Bangalore :10
Fine for faulty number plate: Rs 100
Speaking to Citizen Matters, Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety K S Srinivasa accepted that writing anything on the number plate is an offence, and the offenders are subject to being penalised.
He admitted that many government department vehicles violate the rule. “They are just identifying themselves and it is not a major violation. But once the HSNP are introduced, all this will be eradicated. Then nobody can write anything on them. Rules will be uniform for all. I hope the Department is able to introduce the HSNP by this year end.”
What is a faulty number plate?
A number plate is said to be faulty, when it does not comply with the rules laid down in CMV Rules 50 and 51. The rules clearly describe the dimensions of the number plate and the numbers. It also mentions that the letters of the registration mark shall be in English and the figures shall be in Arabic numerals, writing in vernacular languages is not permitted. The rules also clearly mention the colour scheme to be followed by private and public vehicles.
For details of how each number plate should be, you can check the Rules 50 and 51 of Central Motor Vehicle Rule 1989.
- The plate shall be a solid unit made of 1.0 mm aluminium conforming to DIN 1745/DIN 1783 or ISO 7591. Border edges and corners of the plate shall be rounded to avoid injuries to the extent of approximately 10 mm; the plates must have an embossed border.
- The plate should bear the letters ‘IND’ in blue colour on the extreme left centre of the plate. The letter should be one-fourth of the size of letters mentioned in Rule 51 and should be buried into the foil or applied by hot stamping and should be integral part of the plate.
- The letters of the registration mark shall be in English and the figures shall be in Arabic numerals. (The number system 1, 2, 3 we use presently is actually Arabic.)
- The prescribed size of the plate for various categories or vehicles is as follows:
- For two and three wheelers – 200 X 100 mm
- For Light Motor Vehicles/Passenger cars – 340 X 200 mm/500 X 120 mm
- For medium commercial vehicles, heavy commercial vehicles and Trailer/combination. – 340 X 200 mm
Tenders called for HSNP
The Transport Department had called for tenders for introduction of HSNP in the year 2006 but it was cancelled by the government for various reasons including cost of each number plate which was estimated to range from Rs 1600-1800. The matter was fought in the division bench, referred to the single judge and even in the high court in 2010. Presently, according to Transport Department sources, the matter is before the Karnataka high court for the state and before the Supreme court for all states.
Transport Department officials say the delay was also due to cases filed by bidders, which are ongoing in both the High Court and Supreme Court.
In 2011, the Central government had given directions for introduce the HSNP within two years. The Transport Department has called for fresh tenders again in March 2013. However the tenders cannot be awarded till leave of court (permission of the court) is obtained. The final hearing is on July 9, 2013. Once the case is over, the department expects to start new registrations and invite existing number plate holders in a phased manner to the RTO for change.
Why is the delay?
According to Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers (TEST) Chairman and advisor to the state government on transport, traffic and infrastructure, M N Sreehari, HSNP should have been introduced a decade ago, but has been delayed by the government. This is being introduced to ensure that faulty number plates replaced and crime is curtailed.
Many crimes go undetected because number plates are faulty or tampered. Once this is introduced, tampering cannot happen and petty shops cannot print number plates, as the hologram is computer-generated by the government’s authorised Department. Further, the number of road accidents could also reduce as people will try to be careful, as they would not want to undergo the whole process of getting another number plate, for once the number plate is tampered, it will become a criminal offence. Duplication of number of plates will not be possible with HSNP.
Sreehari adds that the government has not been introducing it because the cost of the number plate will increase. However, Srinivasa clarifies that the cost is not the reason; the delay is due to the litigation and governmental problems.
As a citizen, you can inform the Transport Department and the Traffic Police Department if you see any violations or inefficiency in handling traffic-related issues.
The Transport Commissioner office: 22254900.
Traffic Police additional commissioner office: 22862222. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook page of Bangalore Traffic Police
Click here In this page, the Traffic Police provides information about traffic jams and safe driving tips.
This gives you live traffic updates. To avail this service type JOIN BTP and send it to 9243511777.
Public eye initiative
The traffic police have introduced a Public Eye Initiative, where people can file their complaints directly on the traffic police website, against any violation at http://www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in/PublicEye/PublicEyePost.aspx.
All you have to do is take a photograph and upload it on the above link, along with:
- Vehicle registration number
- Type of violation
- Date, time and place of violation
- Your name, email and contact number
- Your remarks.
‘System needs to be foolproof’
Commuters feel that this system needs to be made foolproof and there should be someone to ensure that people do not use their powers to get away.
“The present rules and regulations, if implemented properly, are fine. The problem is not with the system but with the people, who find ways to mend rules and break them. Unless this stops nothing will work’’ said Sanjay L, a resident of Jalvayu Vihar, Bangalore and IT professional in a Bangalore based company.
Senior accountant consultant, K A Rajan, resident of Domlur, says that in India anything can be forged, same will be the case with the HSNP. This is just because they can find a cheap and easy solution for anything. Therefore a fool-proof HSNP should be introduced which cannot be tampered or copied.
A Shah, a shop owner near JC Road, making brisk business by preparing number plates and sticking numbers on them, says that he and other shop owners have not heard of any such thing coming up. “But if it does, we will lose out on our job. This is our only source of income to support the family… We too should be involved so that we can earn enough.”
Auto Fusion in Koramangala distributes the metal plates with IND embossed in it. Thouqeer, the owner of Auto Fusion, says that once the system is implemented, one has to go to RTO, pay the fee and get it done by the RTO. Once the system is in place, only the dealers authorised to manufacture and distribute High Security Number Plates will be allowed to do so.