In May 2019, all illiterates have been banned from driving any sort of vehicle in Rajasthan. A single bench of the Rajasthan High Court has instructed the state government to withdraw the driving licenses of those who cannot read. The court has also instructed the transport authorities to issue proper instructions and guidelines and take the necessary action in cases where a driving license has been issued to someone who can’t read and write. This has sparked a debate of whether the move is a step in the right direction or not.

Status Quo:

As of now, no educational qualification is required to obtain a private vehicle driving license. For commercial vehicles, as per the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, an 8th pass certificate is necessary to obtain a license. Besides, the person driving a vehicle carrying dangerous or hazardous goods should be able to read or write at least one Indian language as prescribed in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution, or English.

Should Illiterates be given Driving license?

Rajasthan HC has stated passed the law based on the premise that an illiterate person would be a safety hazard on the road. The driver would not be able to read road safety signs, construction-related symbols, warnings, etc.

To add to the concern that HC expressed, an illiterate person would also face troubles with documents (related to the vehicle) that need to be updated time and again. A literate person would also be able to understand the requirements of his/her vehicle by going through the instruction manual, which could greatly increase road safety. Traffic rules and road safety laws which keep on getting updated every now and then can only be understood by literate drivers. Illiterate drivers, on the other hand, by not knowing the laws and their rights, expose themselves to unwanted harassment by the police or even law-suits.


While all of the above concerns may look petty as compared to the loss of livelihood of hundreds but it will definitely help save at least a hundred lives every year. Road safety is treated very lightly in India. But, the statistics are alarming. One person dies every 4 minutes due to a road accident in India. More people die every year due to road accidents than the combined number of deaths in all the 5 wars India has fought. India loses 3% of its GDP due to road accidents. Keeping this in mind, any step taken to improve road safety in India should be highly appreciated.

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Your Turn…

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  • G.Harika, Jul 12, 2023 @ 2:29 pm Reply

    Before 2000 all illiterate people used to handle vehicles and the rate of accidents are very less. But whiles coming to now a days, as population also increases and accidents also increased. Most of the accidents are occur due to drunk and drive, all the drivers were educated people like students ,officers or any private employees, so we conclude that driving is not depended on education. Its a statistical method and lively hood for many people.

  • Astha Gupta, Nov 30, 2020 @ 7:29 pm Reply

    From my point of veiw it’s not a right decision to ban illiterate people to get licence. Because it seems like snatching someones livelyhood. and we oftenly see many educated persons breaking traffic rules and doing hit and run cases. It severaly hampers are economic growth also. Instead of banning illiterate people government and welfare societies should run campaing to educate these persons and put fines on these person who are breaking rules.

  • Anish kumar, Nov 8, 2019 @ 1:10 pm Reply

    According to me education should not be a barrier for give driving licence because it will have adverse effect on the economy growth more over india is country of labour force where most of the india are not so much educated or we can say illiterate bcoz educations is so expensive now a day and if take the case of driving licence according to the report of road safety authority of india that mojor number accident that had took place only due to drunk and drive so where the education is matter here if seriously gov. want to do something in curbing down this road accident then have take major steps by regular inspection of the owner of the vehicle like he should have every permit to drive safely on the road with proper speed limit..

    • Rashmi bajpai, Nov 16, 2019 @ 8:44 am Reply

      In my point of view illiterates must not be given driving license in india and ofcourse the reason is the road accident because mostly road accident happens due to over drunken or over speed or breaking traffic rules and these major stupidity are mostly done by illiterate only beacause they don’t know the disadvantages of it they don’t know about rules they don’t know the adverse effect of alcohol on their body they at least don’t know about the value of life and value of education such people i think does’t deserve license to play with others innocent people lives. A person should must know how to read or write english because in india the traffic rules and other public suggestions are being given in english only ,so a person must know the basics languages and also the literacy rate of india will be increased gradually yes i know indians may face problems due to it but our deaths due to road accidents and literacy rate will increased and i think these two reasons are enough for supporting that license of illiterate must be cancelled

  • Gaurav Sharma, Jul 21, 2019 @ 12:00 pm Reply

    In my view, Illiterate people should get driving licence. We should not forget that since very beginning there are certain professions in India which were dominated by poor and illiterates and driving is one of them. If we stop giving licences to them on one way or the other we are going to hinder our country’s economic growth. The statistical data of unemployment will rise. Instead of this the motor vehicle department should try to rope in some agencies which are specialised in conducting special training classes by showing videos, visuals ( helpful for the illiterate) etc and make it mandatory to obtain the certificate of some kind before providing the driving license.
    On the contrary, the educated person can also be involved in an accident . The point is whoever obeys the traffic rules seriously will be safer irrespective of their educational background.

  • Mahendra, Jul 17, 2019 @ 3:34 pm Reply

    As I think illiterate people must be granted the driving license because it’s not a fact that an illiterate person will kill innocent pedestrians. Nowadays we can see well-educated, graduated persons are doing hit and run cases. So it is not guaranteed that education will matter in driving. Driving is the part of the mentality and it depends on the person to person. If we consider cautiousness driving we can avoid road accidents otherwise if we are well educated and we drive our vehicle incautiously then there are good chances of accidents.

    • Prakash, Jan 30, 2020 @ 5:27 pm Reply

      What you said about illiterate license is perfect, the only fact is mentality of a person.

  • Tinku Paul, Jun 26, 2019 @ 7:21 am Reply

    According to me illiterate people should not get driving license. Road accident is increasing day by day and many times we see innocent pedestrian get victimise. Many people died by road accident and severe injury. Old age people they get afraid to walk on the road because of any time any vehicle hit them inspite of that they don’t have any fault. Illiterate people are not able to read ,so they can’t understand the traffic direction they don’t want to maintain any traffic rules, they violate the traffic rules. At least people have minimum qualifications to get driving license. It is not like that educated people doesn’t violate the traffic rules but Government should impose that as per motor vehicles act minimum qualification should required to get driving license. So we everybody have hope may be road accident will be reduced.

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