What is Vehicle Permit? What is its purpose?

By Fen Mathew


Advancement in the market and economy and opening of new ways for transportation has led to continuous and busy transmigration of vehicles all across the country. From a private individual to a businessman to a local auto driver, all move across the cities and states for their business or to earn livings.

But this movement whether intra or interstate will not be possible unless the person has a vehicle permit to travel with his vehicle for his needs.

Vehicle permits to travel across India are allocated under The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The word Vehicle Permit is not defined specifically under the Act but separate definitions of vehicle and permit are mentioned under the Act.

Section 2(28) defines Motor Vehicle, means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an external or internal source and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached and a trailer.

Section 2(31) defines a Permit as a permit issued by a State or Regional Transport Authority or an authority prescribed on this behalf under this Act authorising the use of a motor vehicle as a transport vehicle.

Types of permits under Motor Vehicle Act, 1988

  • Vehicle Permits for goods vehicles

Goods carrier permits: Section 77 of the Act lays down the provisions of permits for motor vehicles for the carriage of goods if the vehicle runs inside the state for a definite zone in the state.

Permits for Counter Signatures of Goods Transporter: As Section 77 says that permits are given for movement of vehicles within the zones of the State but Section 88 provides an allowance of movements of vehicles carrying goods interstate if the permit is countersigned by the respective state or region where the vehicle is travelling to.

National Permits: A national permit is issued to a good vehicle that must be moved out from its home state. Such permit is issued for at least 4 states taking into account the home states as per Rule 86 and 87 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rule, 1989.

To get a national permit, a vehicle should not be more than 12 years old, and the age of a multi-axle vehicle should not be more than 15 years.

  • Permits available for passenger vehicles

Permits of Autorickshaw and Taxis: this vehicle permit is issued to taxis and auto-rickshaws by MLO Burari, Delhi and the tariff for the vehicles is usually decided by meters in the vehicle.

Maxicab Permit: this permit is issued to the vehicles that take passengers through fixed routes in Delhi. They are issued by State Transport Authorities and the capacity of the vehicle is maximum 13 people including the driver.

Contract Carriage Buses Permits (Chartered Buses): These permits are issued under Section 74 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. This is the most common type of permit where the permit holder and the vehicle owner come under a contract that allows the vehicle owner to travel across.

The driver of the chartered bus should carry with him a list of the passengers and he cannot allow anyone else to board the bus.

  • Temporary Permits

Issuance of temporary permits is done under Section 87 of the Act. In some cases, the Regional Transport Authority and the State Transport Authority may issue a permit without following the procedure laid down in Section 80 for a limited period which may not extend more than four months.

  • All India Tourist Permit (AITP)

To obtain AITP, the vehicle has to fulfil a few requirements. If the vehicle is a bus, it should be a luxury bus which is in white and a blue ribbon of 5 centimetres should be placed at the centre of the exterior of the body of the bus.

It should also have the word ‘tourist’ written on two sides of the vehicle.

Cancellation and suspension of permits- Section 86

The regional transport authority or the state transport authority may cancel the permit or may suspend it for such period as it thinks fit on the following grounds:

  • On the breach of any condition specified in section 84 or of any condition contained in the permit, or;
  • If the holder of the permissible uses or causes or allows a vehicle to be used in any manner not authorised by the permit, or;
  • If the holder of the permit ceases to own the vehicle covered by the permit, or;
  • If the holder of the permit has obtained the permit by fraud or misrepresentation, or;
  • If the holder of the goods carriage permit, fails without reasonable cause, to use the vehicle for the purposes for which the permit was granted, or;
  • If the holder of the permit acquires the citizenship of any foreign country.

Such suspension or cancellation of the permit will not occur unless the other person gets the opportunity to be heard.

In the case of United India Insurance Company Limited Vs. Ningamma[1], the Court decided the grounds of permit violation and the liability of the insurance company in case where there was violation of permit if any.

Purpose of Permits

Permits are issued to the vehicle owners or drivers so that they can move across the country without breaking any law and there is a check on their activities and the use of the vehicle. Permits are necessary for the smooth functioning of the traffic and the provisions regarding necessity of a permit are mentioned under Section 66 of the Act.

It states that an owner of a motor vehicle cannot use or permit the use of a vehicle as a transport vehicle in any public place whether such vehicle Is carrying any passenger or not, other than the rules mentioned in the permit issues or countersigned by Regional or State Transport Authority or any prescribed authority authorising him the use of the vehicle.

The holder of a goods carriage permit can use the vehicle for the drawing of any public or semi-trailer not owned by him depending on the conditions prescribed.

These limitations do not apply to any transport vehicle owned by the Central Government or State Government and used for Government purposes or,

To any transport vehicle owned by a local authority or by a person working under the contract with the local authority or any transport used for any public purpose that the State Government may prescribe.

Provisions of Section 66 are also not applicable to any vehicle which is owned and used solely for the work of any educational institution which is under the control of the state and central government.

In Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh & Ors. Vs. Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors[2]. on 14 August, 2013, the contention that came to the Delhi High Court was that once an auto-rickshaw driver or its owner is prosecuted under Section 66 of the Act and either he compounds the offence or suffers the sentence prescribed in Section 192A of the Act, it is not open to the respondents to take action under Section 86 and/or 207 of the Act.


Therefore, from the above data and cases, it can be concluded that a vehicle permit is a document that allows the travelling of different vehicles within the country without any sanctions and fines.

It is necessary to carry permits all the time while transferring or carriage of goods or for passenger vehicles to prevent any criminal or civil charges against the owner or the driver of such vehicles however vehicles owned by the government, police, fire brigade, ambulances etc are exempted from this.

The compliance with the conditions of the permit is regulated by the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. The application for the permit can be filled online at https://vahan.parivahan.gov.in/npermit/ to prevent any discomfort or hassle to the applicant.

The transport department has provided easy ways in the case where a permit is lost or gets spoiled due to some reason. The owner can apply for a duplicate permit by submitting a written application applying for a new permit.


  1. United India Insurance Company Limited Vs. Ningamma Civil Appeal no. 3538/2009
  2. Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh & Ors. Vs. Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors W.P(C) 5026/2013

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