What to do if you lose your driving licence

I am giving below, the lengthy and tedious process of getting a replacement driver’s licence, with references to the specific places and processes I myself followed.

My driver’s licence was stolen, along with other documents (debit cards, Senior Citizen card, etc) on 23 June, 2016, on a bus from Richmond Circle to MICO Checkpost bus stops (Route no. 366, at about 1.30pm).

1, Try to locate the Police Station which has jurisdiction over the area where you lost your driving licence. This was very difficult for me as my licence was stolen on a bus. It took visits to  three police stations and finally, at Tilak Nagar Police Station I was able to get, not a First Information Report (which, I was told, I could get only at J P Nagar Police Station), I was able to get a complaint lodged, and signed by the Inspector on Duty. 
This process can often take an entire day. The Inspector who obliged, gave me one form and said I had to go outside to get a photocopy; he would not give me another form. I was wandering around trying to locate a photocopier shop when a constable took pity on me, took the form, and got it done from somewhere on his motorcycle. 

Neither the inspector nor the constable took any money. That was heartening. This was on 23 June.

2. Go to the nearest Notary (I found many in the area near Jayanagar 4th Block Registrar’s Office, and get an affidavit on stamped paper, stating the details of the loss of your driving licence, mentioning the number of the licence. The stamp paper costs Rs.20 and the three notaries whom I asked all charged Rs.200 for the whole service. 

Do not try to locate stamp paper on your own, it’s impossible. It’s easier to pay for this service as a package. The process takes at least half an hour, and I had actually been to the Jayanagar Complex in the interim and returned.

After the typing is done, the notary signs it and you get the affidavit.

I got all this done on 24 June.

3. Get 3 passport-sized photographs from any local photography shop. I had some photographs (done earlier) already with me. Cost, Rs. 200 for 16 passport photos.)

4. Take the police complaint, the affidavit, and the photographs, and go to your RTO. It was very difficult to go from one counter to the other, and you will have to go through it all, starting from the Enquiry counter. However, the process involves 

4a. Getting a form of complaint from the Enquiry counter (which works only until 12.30pm) 

4b. Getting the documents vetted at the Forwarding counter, where the prescribed fee will also be written on your form.
4c. Paying the fee for the new driving licence….Rs. 25 for a paper licence, and Rs.250 for a laminated card (always better to choose the second option.) The fee has to be paid at the cash counter (there were two cash counters, so I had to find out which was the right one.)

4d. Getting a signature from the “forwarding” counter. At this place the lady sitting there asked me for the driving licence along with the other documents. I told her I was reporting its loss! She then asked me for a photocopy of the licence. Luckily I had one with me, and could give it.  I cannot understand how we are expected to have a photocopy of the driving licence, and have added this to my list of things to do. She then signed and stamped my papers

4e. You have to go the Biometrics section to have your photograph and thumbprints taken. My biometrics had been done the 2 years ago ( 2014) when I crossed 60 and got my licence renewed, but I had to do it all over again. However, instead of joining the huge queue, I invoked the rule whereby Senior Citizens can go to the head of the queue after meeting the Asst. Regional Transport Office Manager, and I was allowed to get it done without joining the queue. The official at the door demanded to see my Senior Citizen card, and on being told that it, too, had been stolen, asked me to go to the head of the queue. At this point, humour helped. I told him, “Look at me! Do I look 16 to you? Do I need a card to prove my age?” The people at the head of the queue started laughing, and good-naturedly allowed me to finish my biometrics.

5.  I bought a stamped envelope (Rs. 17 worth of stamps and envelope for Rs.30)  for getting the driving licence by Speed Post. The RTO does not allow us to pick up the licences from their offices. I feel citizens should be allowed the choice of one or the other, but it’s not given.

7. I paid a further Rs.50  at the biometrics area, and  gave in the envelope and documents. 

8. I was told that I would get the driving licence by Speed Post in a month’s time. I was worried about what would happen if I was not at home when the Speed Post arrived, but no one could give me any information. I guess that the driving licence will then go back to the R T O where one can pick it up later.  In the event, I was lucky.
9. I got the driving licence by Speed Post on 28 July 2016. The Speed Post came in the morning, at about 11 am.
10. Please do the following immediately: a photocopy of the driving licence, and a laminated card “duplicate” of it, which you can carry around.
I do hope my account of the serpentine and difficult process will help others if, and when, they lose their driving licences. We have much to do in simplifying such processes in India; computerization does not seem to have made an iota of difference to the complicated paperwork.

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