Pollution has been a grave concern all over the world and especially in the National Capital Region (NCR), the problem is quite intense. The levels of air pollution in the NCR have been so high that the Government introduced the odd-even system for vehicles on the roads. Even the Supreme Court of India had issued directives that insurance companies should not allow motor insurance renewals without a valid PUC certificate but the practice was seldom followed. So, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issued a circular on 20th August 2020 mandating insurance companies follow the Supreme Court Directive. While the IRDAI guideline is meant for renewals across India, special emphasis has been put on the NCR region of Delhi given the high pollution levels in the area.
What does the IRDAII circular state?
The Supreme Court of India, in the case of MC Mehta v/s the Union of India in July 2018, asked insurance companies to ensure that a vehicle which does not have a valid PUC certificate is not insured on renewals.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) raised a concern that the Supreme Court mandate of having a valid PUC certificate at renewals was not properly followed by insurance companies. Following this concern IRDAI issued its circular asking insurance companies to follow the Supreme Court directive without fail..
The concept of PUC Certificate
PUC (Pollution Under Control) Certificate is a certificate which verifies that the emissions coming out from the vehicle meets the norms prescribed in the pollution control standards. This ensures that the vehicle is not polluting the surrounding air when it is being used. The certificate issued is valid for a stipulated tenure which depends on the type of vehicle being used. Once the tenure expires, a new PUC certificate should be availed instantly. If the vehicle does not have a valid PUC Certificate, you are liable for fines if caught by the authorities. For new vehicles, the requirement of PUC certificate is after a year of registration of the vehicle.
The impact of the guidelines
The new guidelines issued by the IRDAI would have an impact on you, the vehicle owner, and also the insurance company. Let’s understand –
- For you
You would have to ensure that your PUC certificate is up-to-date every time your motor insurance policy is up for renewals. This would allow you to do your part for the environment and also avoid traffic penalties for being caught without a valid PUC.
- For the insurance company
Motor insurance renewals would become a bit complex for insurers as the PUC certificate would have to be verified by them before allowing renewals. This might take some time in verification of the validity of the PUC Certificate and insurance companies would have to come up with solutions to seamlessly integrate the verification in the renewal process.
The IRDAI circular stresses on the adoption of the Supreme Court directive specifically for cars being renewed in Delhi where pollution is notoriously severe. The guideline is, therefore, considered to be beneficial for the environment of Delhi and aims to reduce the pollution levels in the area. How it impacts the air quality in Delhi is yet to be seen. Moreover, the guideline would be implemented pan India so that pollution levels of the whole country come down. The IRDAI guideline is, therefore, a welcome move which is essential in these times when pollution levels are becoming toxic.