Vehicle Roadworthiness in India

Information on the steps required to ensure a vehicle is legally fit to drive on India's roads…

The government’s Motor Vehicles Act (1988) decrees that all new and used cars must have a certificate of fitness in order to be registered. The certificate is awarded after a car has undergone certain tests for “roadworthiness” – the extent to which a vehicle meets the standard requirements for safe driving on open roads.

For new cars, the roadworthiness certificate is issued by the car’s manufacturer and can be obtained from the dealership.

The certificate is valid for 15 years and is then renewable every five years. This means that India’s roads are full of unsafe vehicles that are not only highly polluting but also prone to breakdowns. However, the central government passed a bill in May 2012 that would require cars to be tested for roadworthiness annually. This bill has yet to be implemented as a national law.

Testing

Cars eligible for a certificate of fitness must be tested at the local branch of the state government’s regional transport office/authority (RTO/RTA). All aspects of the car will be inspected including its tyres, steering wheel, engine, suspension, horn, wipers and pollution levels.

  • The Government of Delhi’s transport department provides a complete list of the criteria used in assessing the fitness of a car: Click here

The following are required to obtain a certificate of fitness for a previously untested car:

  • Application form 20 – can be downloaded from the local RTO/RTA website (see link at foot of page)
  • Sales certification form 21 – can be downloaded from the local RTO/RTA website (see link at foot of page)
  • Temporary registration certificate (if applicable)
  • Roadworthiness certificate form 22 – from the car manufacturer
  • Pollution under control certificate – from car manufacturer or given when a car is tested after importation
  • Testing fees (vary by state)

To renew a certificate of fitness, the following are required:

  • Application form 25 – can be downloaded from the local RTO/RTA website (see link at foot of page)
  • Permanent registration certificate
  • Certificate for payment of road tax
  • Fees (vary by state)

Further information on the rules, regulations and forms for obtaining a certificate of fitness can be found on each state government’s RTO/RTA website.