Hyderabad: In November 2016, the Union road transport and highways ministry directed all states to issue driving licences to people with hearing disability. Six months on, India’s first driving licence to a person with hearing disability will be issued to a graphic designer from the city.
Following the directions of Delhi High Court, the ministry of road transport & highways studied the matter and after taking opinion from states, sent a letter to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences seeking its opinion. The AIIMS said that hearing disability may not be a problem for driving as long as the person has good eyesight and is healthy.
The ministry then sent circulars to all the state governments on October 28, 2016. After a study, the Telangana government issued a circular on April 29, 2017, to all the RTOs, DTOs and JTCs to issue licences to the persons with hearing disability.
Mr. Annapragada Manikanta, a hearing disabled person from Moti Nagar, approached Khairatabad RTA officials and obtained a Learner's Driving Licence four days ago. Later, he applied for a permanent driving licence and approached Kondapur RTA on Monday. He completed the driving test and this was appreciated by the RTA staff for his driving.
Motor Vehicle Inspector B. Sairam Reddy said Mr. Manikanta would be the first person with hearing disability in the country to get a a permanent licence.
“We will issue a driving licence to him on Tuesday. We asked him to display a logo which states the driver has hearing disability. As the rule is new, we do not have an official logo so far. As Mr. Manikanta is a graphic designer, he will come up with eight versions of the logo from which the Road Transport Authority will pick one by Tuesday and declare it the official logo. It will be displayed on the front and rear sides of a vehicle,” he said.
Manikanta is driving for 10 years
In November 2016, the Union road transport and highways ministry directed all states to issue driving licences to people with hearing disability.
Mr Annapragada Manikanta said he had brain fever when he was a month-old.
“My mother and younger sister taught me lip reading for communication and I practiced vocal exercises to talk. I can understand Telugu and English at basic level and can talk in both languages. In my childhood days, I had no such skills and did not go to any school. My mother taught me all the subjects at home. I learnt driving 10 years back and there is no problem with vehicles coming from the rear side as I use two rearview mirrors,” he said.
He said when he was eight years old, he began drawing and turned professional in 2007 after completing a course in fine arts with a senior artist.
“I completed animation courses at NIMSME and began working in 2010. Now, I am working as a background artist and graphic designer for a prominent company in Jubilee Hills,” Mr Manikanta said.
- Section 8 (4) says, “The licence authorities can refuse to issue the learner’s licence if the medical certificate referred to in sub-section (3) declares the disability will likely be a source of danger to the public.” AIIMS declared hearing disability may not be a cause or source of danger to public, the Central government allowed driving licences to hearing impaired
- In view of MoRTH’s request, the Telangana government allowed issuing licences to hearing impaired from April 29, 2017
- The circular by the Telangana government tells applicant, after obtaining learner’s licence, should display ‘Hearing Disability’ logos on the vehicle.