Just when SEBI is pushing to ensure nominations and awareness about nominations, comes an interesting counterpoint.

Earlier, in CoverNote (March 22, 2022), we saw how the Ministry of Road Transport had facilitated nominations for motor vehicles.

This was in mid-2021. With this, the nominee could avoid many documentary hassles such as legal heirship certificate, no objection certificate from other heirs and so on, for getting the title to the vehicle transferred on the demise of the vehicle owner.

Online nomination

New vehicles can be nominated at registration and even old vehicles could be nominated. What is more, this could be done online. I did go online and check the path to do this and had written about this in CoverNote. New vehicle nominations go through as a matter of routine. However, there is no acknowledgement or documentary proof of this nomination that you get in hand. When I went to nominate my old car, I needed to key in an OTP in the nominee’s mobile number. Since it was not immediately possible, I put it off for another day. Subsequently, I discovered, the facility had vanished from the website.

Doubtful process

The Automobile Association of South India, a trusty and efficient ally in navigating the labyrinths of vehicle ownership, documentation and its maintenance, said that this process was now only allowed offline at RTOs, but was doubtful if it was actually being done.

Incidentally, a membership with them is highly recommended. They help you get through all the processes smoothly. You get a 5 per cent discount on your vehicle insurance premium if you quote your membership card. But insurance companies across the board hem and haw to give you that discount, even though it is capped at ₹1,000 or ₹1,500.

So, to the RTO I went, taking the opportunity presented by a driving licence that needed renewal.

Gone were those crowded counters and immobile queues. The driving licence process was over in less than two minutes and an articulate and knowledgeable lady official at the front office said that nomination was not available for already registered vehicles, that there wasn’t even a column for it on the parivahan website (vahan.parivahan.gov.in). I had discovered that as well. She advised me to check with the official in the section concerned and I came away with the same response.

I was left feeling quite perplexed like the old Tamil movie comedy line that, for current purposes, I will paraphrase as, ‘It’s available, but not available.’ Why such a brilliant idea has run aground defies logic. That too at a time when lost and missed fixed deposits in banks are being put online for you to discover and claim and financial regulators are campaigning for nominations.

(The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)