What to do in case driving license is lost, stolen or mutilated?

driving license

According to Section 2(10) the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a driving license is defined as the “license issued by a competent authority authorizing the person specified therein to drive, otherwise than as a learner, a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle of any specified class or description.”[i] In other words, a driving license is a document, issued by the Regional Transport Office having jurisdiction in that area, authorizing a specified person to drive a motor vehicle. In order to be able to drive a motor vehicle in public spaces, it is compulsory to have an appropriately issued and valid driving license.[ii] Across the territory of India, when a motor vehicle is being driven it is mandatory that the driver must be in possession of his/her driving license. In case of any accident caused by the driver’s negligence, if the driver is not in possession of a valid license, the insurance company can be absolved from paying for the damages. This is substantiated in the Supreme Court case of Pappuu and Others v. Vinod Kumar Lamba and Another[iii] and the case of Rakesh Pratap Singh v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd[iv] decided by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. Therefore, it is imperative to get a duplicate license as soon as possible in case the original is lost, stolen or mutilated.

What is a duplicate license?

A duplicate license is a copy of the driving license that is issued to a person in case the original license is lost, stolen or mutilated.[v] According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, a duplicate license will be issued when the license is lost or destroyed, when the license is defaced, torn or completely written up or when the photograph affixed to the license needs replacement.[vi]

It is different from renewal of driving license as renewal only happens prior to expiration of license and not in cases of theft, mutilation or loss of license.

Duplicate Licenses are issued by the Ministry of road Transport and Highways but each state in India has Motor Vehicle Rules (eg: Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 or Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989) that specify the need and procedure for obtaining a duplicate license.

Steps to be taken as soon as license is lost

As soon as anyone realizes that the license has been lost or stolen, it is mandated that a report be filed at the police station having jurisdiction in the area where the license was lost. It is also essential that a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) be obtained by the person making the complaint in case it is necessary to be presented at any time during the investigation or the procedure for application of a duplicate license. A notarized affidavit must also be obtained as proof that the statement made concerning loss of license is true.

Documents required to apply for a duplicate license

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways says that the requirements to apply for a duplicate license includes the filling up of the application in Form – 2, presentation of original license if available, attested photocopies of the Driving License in case it is lost and fees as prescribed along with the user charges.[vii] In addition to this, it is also required to submit proof of address (in the form of Aadhaar card, Passport, Ration card or House agreement), proof of age (in the form of Birth Certificate, Pan card, Transfer certificate or 10th grade marks card) and a medical certificate (Form – 1) signed by a government doctor.[viii]

An application for a duplicate license must be made to the same Regional Transport Office that issued the original license. 

Online application for duplicate license

Most Regional Transport Offices provide for application of a duplicate license online. To know if this facility is available in your state, visit the website of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways: https://parivahan.gov.in/parivahan/ and click on ‘driving license related services’ present in the ‘Online Services’ drop-box. This will then take you to the page where you can select your state. After the selection of the state, you will be directed to the next page which lists all the services available related to the driving license and mentions the process for application submission. Here click ‘continue’ and on the next page enter the number of your driving license and your date of birth.

To proceed further, enter all the subsequent details that the website asks for and you will reach the last step which is the selection of the required driving license service, tick the box that says ‘duplicate license’. If all the details have been accurately and appropriately entered, an acknowledgement form will be generated on the screen along with the details of the applicant and the service requested.[ix]

The next step is uploading the documents. For completion of this step, click on each required field and upload the necessary documents (address proof, age proof and Form – 1).

Following this, upload the photograph and signature and proceed to the next step which is payment of fees. After successful payment an acknowledgement message will be displayed. Check the message and then print the receipt of payment to complete the process.

Once the details have been verified, the applicant will be notified and then he can print the duplicate license from the same website where the application was made.

Offline application for duplicate license

If an online application is not available in a certain state, a duplicate license can always be availed form the Regional Transport Office that issued the original driving license. The offline process to apply for a duplicate license is fairly simple. All an applicant has to do is go to the Regional Transport Office, ask for the LLD form (a form for intimation of loss or destruction of license), fill the form, attach all the needed documents and pay the appropriate fee.

Soon after, the applicant will receive a document that can be used until the duplicate license is processed and after it is, the applicant can collect it from the Regional Transport Office.


A driving license, although it primarily signifies authorization to drive, can be used as address proof, age proof and valid identification and this makes it the quintessential document to have at all times. So, in case of loss, theft or mutilation it is ideal to get apply for a duplicate license right away to avoid any trouble with the law. To ensure this, the process of applying for a duplicate license has been made as simple as possible and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has even provided an option for online application to improve accessibility.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).

[ii] Id.

[iii] Pappuu and Others v. Vinod Kumar Lamba and Another, (2017) Civil Appeal No. 20962 of 2017 (India).

[iv] Rakesh Pratap Singh v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., (2017) National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (India).

[v] Karishma, Lost your driving license? Here’s how you can apply for a duplicate one, India Today, January 17, 2019.

[vi] Duplicate License, Parivahan Sewa, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, https://parivahan.gov.in/parivahan/en/content/duplicate-licence.

[vii] Id.

[viii] Duplicate Driving License, India Filings, (July 30, 2019, 7:06 PM), https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/duplicate-driving-license/.

[ix] Id.

Rachel Thomas
I am a student of law at Christ (Deemed to be University) but until I become a licensed advocate I would like to be known as a food enthusiast, aspiring artist, volleyball player, animal lover and avid book reader.