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Insurance Article

Everything You Need To Know About Your Car's PUC Certificate

January 19 2021

Pollution under Control (PUC) certificate is mandatory to keep your vehicle's emission levels in check.


In 2019, the central government declared a 'war on air pollution' and launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The programme aims to reduce pollution by 20 to 30 per cent by 2024.

In India, a valid driving license, motor insurance policy, and a Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate are legally required to be kept in the car while driving anywhere in the country.

What exactly is PUC?

Every car that runs on petrol or diesel emits smoke. If periodic checks aren't conducted to keep this in control, it could lead to massive air pollution. This is where PUC certification comes in.

Basically, the PUC Certificate is the legal record of a vehicle's pollution levels. The certification mark is provided to vehicles that successfully undergo the PUC test. It shows that the vehicle's emission is within permissible levels and follows all the standard norms. The Indian government's Central Motor Vehicle Act of 1989 has mandated the PUC Certification, which means every vehicle must have a valid PUC.

Cost and validity

  • The cost of the PUC test is minimal. Based on the vehicle and fuel type, it varies from ₹60 to ₹100.
  • When you buy a new car, it comes with a PUC certificate, which is usually valid for one year.
  • Once this period is over, you have to take the vehicle for periodic checks. New certificates are issued each time, and the older one is then nullified.
  • A new certificate comes with six months' or one year's validity, if and only if the reading is within limits. If the reading fluctuates, the certificate's validity is decided based on that reading.

Contents of the PUC certificate

Following are the contents of the certificate:

  • A serial number that helps the testing centre monitor when your car went through the test.
  • The car's registration number.
  • The date on which the test was taken and the expiry date.
  • The actual PUC test reading.

How to obtain a PUC certificate?

You can obtain PUC certificate both offline and online. Here's how.

  • Visit a certified RTO certified centre for an emission test. The same can be checked on the government portal's 'PUC Centre List' with the centre addresses, contact information, and type of vehicles tested at each centre as per state. You can also look for petrol pumps with certified PUC centres.
  • An official/operator will check the vehicle's exhaust pipe at the testing centre to ensure that the emission levels are within the permitted level.
  • In case of diesel vehicles, the accelerator is pressed, and the readings are observed. This procedure is repeated five times, and the average is taken as the final reading.
  • For petrol vehicles, the car is started and kept idling without pressing the accelerator. Only one reading is taken, which is the final.
  • Once the official ascertains that the reading is proper, he will issue you a hard copy of the certificate.

The PUC online can be availed by vehicle owners who already have a valid PUC certificate and need a copy. You can acquire the same on Parivahan – a central government offering that covers various transport-related services. Follow these steps to obtain a new PUC certificate online.

  • Feed-in the vehicle's registration number and the last five digits of your VIN or chassis number.
  • Add the captcha code that comes up after adding your information and click on 'PUC details'.
  • The site will direct you to a page with your emission test readings.
  • Download a soft copy of your PUC certificate.

PUC offences

  • Suppose the reading shows high emission levels; in that case, the vehicle's registration number will be reported to the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Deputy RTO or Assistant RTO by the testing centre within 24 hours.
  • In case your PUC certificate is valid, but your vehicle is visibly emitting a lot of smoke, then the certificate stands cancelled, and you will be required to get your car checked and procure a new PUC within a week. Failing to do this would lead to prosecution under Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
  • If your car does not have a valid PUC certificate, you will be fined ₹1000 the first time and ₹2000 for every subsequent time.
  • Towards the end of 2017, the Supreme Court reviewed and approved the Environment Prevention and Control Authority's (EPCA) recommendations regarding air pollution quality. The Supreme Court ruled that PUC certificate will have to be linked to the individual's car insurance policy for the insurance to be considered valid.
  • It was also decided that vehicles failing to follow this directive would not be allowed to renew their car insurance policy. This landmark ruling has helped improve the situation since it was earlier observed that only 23% of Delhi vehicles had valid PUC certificates.
  • As per government guidelines, acquiring a customised or backdated PUC certificate is illegal. If you happen to misplace or destroy the certificate, you can always get a copy with the PUC certificate download feature on the Parivahan Sewa portal.

PUC reading explained

As per the readings, your car should meet the below criteria to run on Indian roads.

Year of manufacture

% of Carbon mono-oxide

Hydrocarbon measured in PPM

Four-Wheeler manufactured according to Pre Bharat Stage II Norms



Four-Wheeler manufactured according to Pre Bharat Stage III and Subsequent Norms



In Conclusion

Driving a car comes with its own set of responsibilities. Having a valid PUC certificate shows that you are a law-abiding citizen who cares about the environment and are actively working towards reducing air pollution. Apart from this, you can be sure of your vehicle's condition and get it serviced before it becomes a much larger problem.

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