The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that henceforth no vehicle will get an insurance policy without a valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate. The court further directed the Centre to ensure there is a pollution checking centre at each petrol pump.

The order has come on a recommendation of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), the expert body assisting the apex court on environmental issues. The EPCA informed the court that a survey of the existing 962 pollution checking centres revealed that the standards prescribed for testing pollution levels were not uniformly followed at these centres.

The Bench of Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta also asked the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to ensure that in four weeks all fuel refilling centres in the National Capital Region (NCR) have a PUC centre to facilitate issuance of the certificates.

What is a PUC Certificate?

The full form of PUC is Pollution under Control. It is a valid certification, that’s granted to a vehicle that has passed the PUC Test. If your vehicle receives this certificate, it implies that your car or bike’s vehicular emissions are under control and in accordance with the pollution norms. In short, your car / bike is not a threat to the air of your city.

The process for the PUC certification has been specified as per the Central Motor Vehicles Rule.

All motor vehicles release smoke which has the potential to pollute the environment, if left unchecked. As such, there have be some norms to check the vehicular emission levels to determine how safe they are and whether they add to the city’s air pollution.

Vehicles Requiring PUC Certification

All vehicles that are operational on the Indian roads are required to carry a valid PUC certificate. Pollution testing centres issuing PUC certificate for your vehicle across all cities

When Should You Obtain PUC Certification?

PUC must be obtained when a new vehicle is purchased. A PUC Certificate is always issued with the new vehicle. This certificate has a validity period of one year. After that, you will be required to get a new PUC Certificate through a PUC testing centre.

You must carry a valid PUC certificate in the vehicle according to the Rule 115 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989. This means that you must have the PUC Certificate in the vehicle at all times and that it must be produced immediately when asked by any officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police or the Inspector of Motor Vehicles. Section 115 (given above) is very clear that “the certificate shall always be carried in the vehicle and produced on demand”.

PUC Certificate Validity

  • PUC Certificate issued to a brand new car is valid for one year.
  • After the lapse of that one year, PUC tests must be conducted every six months.
  • In case the vehicle emission are detected to be higher than the normal limit, the validity of the PUC certificate, and thus the time in which you would have to get a re-test done, will be decided by the reading of the test.
  • The PUC testing centre in-charge might inform the RTO of your vehicle’s pollution test results and registration number, in case the vehicle emissions are found to touch dangerous levels.

How Much Does The PUC Test Cost?

Not much. The rate of this test ranges anywhere between INR.60 and INR.100, depending on your vehicle type.

PUC Certificate Content

The basic information on the PUC Certificate includes the following:

  • The PUC certificate serial number
  • The license plate number for your vehicle
  • The date of the PUC test
  • The expiry date of the PUC Certificate
  • The PUC test reading

Where Can You Get a PUC Certificate?

  • PUC testing is carried out at most of the petrol pumps that have been authorized to conduct these tests.
  • Several independent testing centres have also been permitted to conduct these tests and issue relevant certificates. If you’ve noticed those vans by the highway, with a large board with letters ‘PUC’, you now know they are nothing but PUC testing centres.
  • A licensed auto emission centre having computerised facility for checking a vehicle’s pollution level can issue the Pollution under Control Certificate.

Should You Carry the PUC Certificate With You?

Just like a valid Driving License must be carried when you are driving any vehicle, your vehicle’s PUC Certificate must also be carried and kept with the vehicle at all times. Any / all of these documents could be demanded by the policemen at anytime and must be shown to avoid fines or penalty.
Always make sure that your vehicle’s got a valid PUC Certificate. You must take a new PUC test each time your certificate expires.

This is legal, compulsory and will save you a penalty!

If the emission certificate or Pollution under Control for your vehicle is due for renewal, immediately visit your nearby authorized centre.

But, can a police officer ask for the vehicle to be rechecked?

Yes. Even if a vehicle has a valid PUC Certificate as given in section 115, a traffic police officer could ask you to get a re-test, if he suspects your vehicle to be emitting smoke more than the prescribed norm.

This order to retest the vehicle for PUC norms, must be in writing and can be replied to within 7 days.

Is the PUC valid throughout India? Do I need to take a separate PUC if I am travelling to a different state in India? Yes. The PUC certificate is valid throughout India. As per section 116: (8) the certificate issued under sub-rule (7) shall, while it remains effective, be valid throughout India.

Penalties for not obtaining a PUC certificate

Any vehicle, which does not carry a valid PUC Certificate, becomes liable for prosecution under Section 190(2) as per the Motor Vehicles Act.  Additionally, a penalty of INR 1000 for the first offence and INR 2000 for every consequent offence for violation has been mentioned.

MotoMecha thinks!!

Air pollution is a growing concern in the capital region, and strict measures need to be taken to curb it. While making pollution certificates mandatory to renew insurance is a welcoming move, the same could be made mandatory for the entire country. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So hurry and obtain that PUC Certificate as soon as possible…


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