Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 12 September 2023

Caste and religious stickers

Source: By Nirbhay Thakur: The Indian Express

The Noida and Ghaziabad Police, over the past few days, issued challans to 2,300 people for putting ‘caste and religious stickers’ on their cars as part of a special drive that started. The challan for putting such a sticker on the car is Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 for placing it on the registration number plate.

The police also said that similar drives will be conducted in future. The Indian Express looked at the Motor Vehicle Act and Motor Vehicle Rules to explore whether displaying caste stickers on vehicles is an offence.

What does the law say?

While there is a clear rule against putting any stickers on the registration number plate under the Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 governments in different states have issued orders against putting stickers that signify caste and religion even on the body of the vehicle.

The Uttar Pradesh transport directorate, in its order issued on 10 August 2023, said a special drive to challan vehicle owners for using caste-specific and religion-specific stickers will be held between 11 and 20 August 2023. According to the Motor Vehicle Rules, “stickers and adhesive labels” in registration number plates are not permitted.

The rules also state the specifications of the number plate. According to the Section , the number plate ‘shall be a solid unit made of 1.0 mm aluminium’ and ‘should bear the letters “IND” in blue colour on the extreme left centre’.

If the number plate is not as per the rules, which includes putting labels or stickers on it, Section 192 of the MV act, has the provision of a fine of up to Rs 5,000 for the first offence. For subsequent offences, they can be imprisoned for up to 1 year and fined up to rupees 10,000.

In the case of stickers on the body of the vehicles, the police are issuing challans under Section 179 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. The section has the provision for fines in case of ‘disobedience of orders, obstruction and refusal of information’.

Whoever wilfully disobeys any direction lawfully given by any person or authority empowered under this Act to give such direction, or obstructs any person or authority in the discharge of any functions which such person or authority is required or empowered under this Act to discharge, shall, if no other penalty is provided for the offence be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, the section states.

Earlier, penalties (if not provided for the offence in the Act) were punishable with a fine of up to Rs 500. However, after the 2019 amendment to the MV Act, the fines now stand at up to Rs 2,000.