Maze of Agents Rules RTO

Vinita decides to renew her DL, and goes to the RTO and guess what she finds. Pick up some tips from her experience.

Recently I ventured into the RTO office at Bhattarahalli, K R Puram, to renew my driving licence (DL). Using the Citizen Matters guide and, I figured the bus routes from Mayo Hall. I reached the office, which is 6 km from KR Puram Railway/bus station, in little over an hour.

I went with a lot of optimism, as I had heard things had gotten streamlined and ‘clean’. I was armed with the Form 9 that I had downloaded from the RTO site and filled.

When I reached the office, I saw several agents hovering at the entrance, whom I ignored. The three gentlemen at the reception seemed very busy indeed, explaining details and dishing out forms. When I enquired about the renewal of licence, I was directed to the ‘DL Office’ on the 1st floor.

Karnataka state driving license. Pic: Kiran Kumar

The staff seated at the counter there glanced at my form and said I had not got the ‘envelope’. On further queries, I gathered that they meant a pre-stamped envelope that would be used to post the new DL to me. I was told to go ‘outside’ and get it.

There were many shops behind the RTO building, selling all ‘RTO ware’. I was asked if I needed a ‘full-set’. A full-set had a thin brown paper folder, a stamped envelope, a small ziploc cover for the old licence, a set each of the forms needed, a tag to pin all the documents and a verbal reminder to attach a photocopy of proof of address!

Sure this makes it convenient and organised. However it would have been better if the required things were listed on the RTO website or made available at a fixed cost with proper information and signage at the RTO office itself.

Finally I settled for just the envelope with stamps, paying Rs 28 for the cover with stamps worth Rs 17.

As I was leaving, I noticed a gentleman at the shop filling a DL Renewal form for someone else. It included a medical certificate. So I asked him if it was mandatory as the website says it is needed only for people above 40 years. He said it was and told me I could easily get it done. I now had to buy the form (Form 1-A) from them by paying Rs 5.

When I asked at the DL office on this, they repeated the same thing – that it is compulsory despite the fact that I have not yet turned 40. They suggested that I go to the Government Hospital at K R Puram to have it done.

As I entered the Hospital, an agent lurking at the reception welcomed me. I ignored him, went in and joined many others with the by-now-familiar brown paper folder, waiting outside a closed door. An attendant was helping everybody go in.

I had prepared myself for a medical test with sight-checking, BP, heart etc. Instead here was a doctor, surrounded by patients, simultaneously signing several forms. I noticed the agents slipping a note or two to the attendant. As I stood in the group, the attendant tried nudging me to the corner saying he will get it signed. I refused saying I would do it myself.

The doctor mysteriously chose to ignore my form. I waited patiently. When my turn came, he commented on the photo not being pasted and shouted out to his attendant to do it. Once again I said I would do it myself.

The doctor filled the various details on the form with no questions asked, asked me for my blood group and then signed the form, before moving on to the next form.

I left the room and the hospital. Only when I was on my way back to the RTO’s office did I realise that I had not obtained the seal and stamp of the doctor. It also struck me that the attendant had accompanied the others out, obviously for the stamp, seal and other ‘exchanges,’ while I had come out separately.

I returned to the RTO and was directed by the man at the reception to pay the fee at the cash counter. I joined one of the two long queues. When my turn finally came, the cashier checked my form and told me that I had to go back to the DL section to get their signature.

No information, procedures shrouded in secrecy. And of course the ubiquitous agents!

When I went there, I was directed to yet another ‘cash counter’ with no signage. Here another gentleman went through my form again. He told me there was no doctor’s seal. I informed him that perhaps because I had not paid the attendant the seal and stamp had been left out. Another person at the counter advised me to pay the attendant and get the job done as the seal was important.

Finally, the man at the counter told me that my license expires only in November so it was due for renewal only after that, and told me to go home.

I knew the license expires in November, but nowhere on the RTO website or in the office does it mention, the timeline for renewal or that it can be done only after expiry.

While I felt irritated with the doctor, the man at the cash counter and many others, I do realise that they are merely the symptoms of an inefficient and weak system. In the whole episode, I was piqued by the lack of signage at the RTO’s office that explains the procedures for different category of the visitors. From my experience, it looks like crafted to result in ambiguity that allows for enough palm-greasing.

Now I have to return to the RTO’s office in November. I do hope things would have changed for better by then.


  1. S Srinivasan says:

    I got my DL renewed without much of hassles from RTO Jayanagar. Before going there, I studied the guidelines given in their website . Read the page ” When and How to renew the DL ” at Procedure 5. The Forms required are CMV 9, CMV 1 , CMV 1A (irrespective of age ) , PP size photos fixed in the forms, Rs.15/- Stamped oblong envelope,and old DL in a plastic cover . I was adviced to go to Hospitals recognised by Transport Dept. I got the Certificate from Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. Of course, there was no medical check up and cash received by the doctor to put his signature and stamp. This practice might have been stopped now after expose in the papers. The filled forms wee verified in the RTO DL section where the staff asked me to pay the relevent amount at the cash counter for DL purposes only. After payment in the counter, the documents including the Receipts have to be verified by an officer and then I was asked to proceed to Photo section. I was asked to go back to the verification counter to submit the papers ( You should carry Stick Glue, stapler, Punch, Thread to tie the documents etc )and I was given an acknowledgement. After about 10 days, I went to the DL counter again and I got the DL card directly. Ofcourse, you have to do some running around but you get the satisfaction of getting the DL directly avoiding the touts. There may be some procedural variations between the various RTO offices and one may have to stand in different queues one after the other. If we have to fight corruption, we are left with no option except to go through the procedures as dictated by the RTO staff in different sections.
    Renewal of vehicle registration is a different procedure involving lot of running to places outside also ! By and large, I found RTO staff very helpful. There is lot of scope to simplify the system like single window function so that Public need not be made to run from pillar to post.

  2. Ramesh says:

    If RTO improves India will improve by 50% Now things have changed so much that the movie you saw in India in nothing it is much worse. The officer in RTO yelahanka told me that bribe goes to members in parliament so you cannot complain anywhere so you are better off paying bribe otherwise your life is hell. You can go to police station and still it is same there without bribe no one will entertain the case so you have no choice and shell out money. I saw these things only in movies now I see this in real time. So RTO will never improve in India.

  3. Sridhar says:

    I have been to Jayanagar,Indiranagar,Koramangala RTOs and always had a bad experience in terms of service,assistance. The RTO employees’ are in the jobs only to collect bribes.Without bribes nothing moves,even after the employees get a fat pay with all incentives,holidays,etc. from the taxpayers blood and sweat.I had downloaded all the necessary forms and went to the KR puram RTO office to apply for RC and was surprised.The officials there were very helpful,did not make me run around and also got my acknowledgement within 15 min.I also received my RC in 19 working days.All this without paying a bribe(bakshish).I really thank the KR Puram RTO for doing their job efficiently and having honor and self respect.They changed my perception of a Govt.Office. The other RTOs’ employees should be ashamed of themselves.I only hope the KR Puram RTO office stands as an example of a clean and corruption free Govt.Office and does not get corrupted like the other RTOs. So, things can change if employees have self respect,honor and have an interest and passion for the job. Also stringent measures like dismissal and confiscation of all the movable and immovable properties of corrupt employees will ensure a clean work environment.

  4. manoj kamal says:

    please somebody help me out as my bike’s RC and DL are lost some where that
    I purchased from Karnataka now how to get the duplicate RC as I am not able to drive my bike.Please guide me I’ll be very thankful.

  5. JKPKJRFFC says:

    I believe now attestation by any local medical doctor will do. The person I went to charged Rs. 100.00 for medical attestation. For those who are renewing driving licenses from out of state, an no objection certificate is needed from the RTO that issued your expiring license. The following additional items are also needed, which are not mentioned in the ka rto site:
    1. “Change of Address” form
    2. “Driving License Issual Form”
    3. Copy of Proof of address in current state. Electricity bill in your name will do.
    4. Reinforced envelope, with stamps worth INR 17.00 pasted
    Items 1, 2, and 4 are available for a fee from the shops near RTO.

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