In the month of May alone, till date, the Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP) penalised more than 4,000 people for violating traffic norms related to number plates on motor vehicles. However, the bigger conflict among motorists is why can’t they have a number plate in Marathi since it’s a state language.
Debate started after picture posted on Twitter
The discussion started on Tuesday when Twitter posted a picture of a vehicle with a number plate written in Marathi. The plate which should have had Maharashtra’s short form MH, had Maharashtra written in Marathi along with the number, in the same language. The user tagged the MTP asking them if this was allowed. In the next few hours, the tweet gathered traction and netizens started discussing why writing something in Marathi, inside the state of Maharashtra, should be unlawful.
“What is the problem with Marathi? Don't you have bread butter from Marathi Maharashtra state? Why so much hate about Marathi number plate,” questioned a Twitter user, while another added, “Why not allowed in Maharashtra state? This is Maharashtra and Marathi language is an official language of Maharashtra state.”
A senior traffic official explained, “The number plate of any motor vehicle should be as per rule number 50 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rule.”
What does the rule say?
According to rules 50 and 51, which deal with improper number plates, the registration letters including state code and the numbers shall all be in black on white background for 2-wheelers and light motor vehicles. While for commercial vehicles, it should be black letters on yellow background. The rule further states that the plate should not have fancy letters and numbers or other names, pictures or art. The plate should be displayed both at the front and rear of all motor vehicles clearly. The letters of the registration mark should be in English while the numbers or figures shall be strictly in Arabic numerals.
The official further said that if the vehicle owner desires to want a personalised number plate, he or she can have one. However, out of the two number plates, one should comply with the law. “There is a letter of the honourable transport commissioner of 2004 which allows an additional number plate. In case the owner wants the additional one to be in Marathi, it can be translated. For example, it should be like for MH 12 A 2526 then they can do it to एमएच १२ ए २५२६. However, they cannot make the MH into Maharashtra whatsoever,” he further specified.
Traffic authorities concluded by saying if the law states a certain protocol and if that's not followed, the lawbreakers will be penalised.