Why Shouldn’t You Use Fancy Number Plate for Your Car?

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Buying a car or upgrading your fleet is a big deal for most people. It is considered as a status symbol and reflects your standard of living. Given the amount of money spent to bring your favourite car home, you ensure to keep it safe and financially protected with the best car insurance policy available. However, buying a car is not as easy as buying clothes for yourself. You need to be responsible and adhere to a lot of rules and regulations as per the motor laws of the country.

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          Registration of a Car

          One of the most important rules or responsibility that you need to ensure when buying a car is the vehicle registration. As per the Indian motor laws, every car in India should be registered by a Regional Transport Office (RTO). But at first, either your car dealer or you need to apply for a temporary registration number for your car. This is because the permanent registration number for a vehicle may take some time to arrive. As a result, the RTO issues a temporary registration number for the car so that the vehicle can be used until the permanent registration number is issued.

          Make sure to apply for a car registration number before you use your brand new car. Driving an unregistered car is against the motor laws of the country. You can land yourself into serious trouble if you are caught driving an unregistered car. You must also carry the registration certificate of your car while driving. Without a valid registration certificate, you can’t buy or raise a claim with even the best car insurance policy in India.

          A temporary car registration number is valid for a period of one month. As soon as the temporary registration number for your car is issued, you must apply for the permanent registration number for your car with your RTO. Make sure to apply for your permanent car registration number before your temporary registration number expires. Once your permanent car registration number is issued, you are required to purchase two number plates for your car - one for the front and one for the back of your car.

          According to an order issued by the central government in 2013, all cars should be compulsorily fitted with a High Security Registration Plate (HSRP). Unlike regular number plates, a high security registration plate is safe from counterfeiting and comes with several safety features that can add to the security of your car. This type of number plate is fixed to a car using a non-reusable and non-removable snap lock system. However, you must follow the prescribed format for the number plate of the car as per the motor laws.

          What is the Format for a Car Registration Number Plate?

          The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 specifies a format for the registration number plate for all cars. To begin with, the size of the number plate of a light motor vehicle is 340x200 mm. On the other hand, passenger cars should have a number plate of size 500x120 mm. Coming to the font, a car license number plate should have a font height of 65mm and a width of 10 mm. A space of 10mm should be there between every letter or number.

          The registration number plate of a car should also follow the prescribed colour combination. The colour combination for the number plate varies according to the category of vehicle you have. The following table represents the prescribed colour combination for the car registration number plate as per the category of the car:

          Car Category

          Background Colour of the Car License Number Plate

          Font Colour on the Car License Number Plate

          Temporary Registered Cars



          Private Cars



          Rental Cabs



          Commercial Transport



          Guidelines for the Car Registration Number Plate

          As per the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, certain guidelines related to the license number plate of a car need to be followed by every car owner. Take a look:

          • Every car should have a clearly visible car registration number plate.
          • The number plate should be placed at the front as well as the back of the car.
          • All letters on the number plate should be written in the English language while all numbers should be in Arabic numerals.
          • It should not have any symbols, pictures, stickers, names or art on it.
          • It should not be written in a fancy font or colours.

          Why a Fancy Number Plate Should Be Used?

          When you buy a new and expensive car, you may have the urge to personalize it in one way or the other. You may want a fancy number plate for your car with stylish fonts. You may also want to write your name, your designation or the name of your family on your car registration number plate. However, doing these things are a strict no-no as per the law of the country.

          The Indian motor laws do not allow car owners to have a fancy license number plate for their cars. Usage of any fancy design, font style, symbols, names or pictures is against the law. You can land yourself in legal troubles if a traffic cop catches your car with a fancy number plate. You may have to pay a heavy fine as a penalty for breaking the law.

          You may argue that why the font or size of a car registration number plate is important for the authorities. Well! The font and size of the number plate of a car are extremely important to maintain vehicle law and order in the country. The car license number plate should be clear and visible for the police to read from a distance. But if you use a fancy number plate for your car, it can make it difficult for the police as well as other authorities to read the number of your car. Thus, they would not be able to recognize your car, especially if it’s being used for any illegal activities. In fact, the fancy car registration number plate is mostly used by criminals or people involved in fraudulent or criminal activities to escape the police or surveillance.

          Let’s look at an example to understand better. Suppose your car was stolen by someone and you had raised a police complaint about the same. The police will be able to catch the culprits using your car in case it is being used on the road. But if you had a fancy number plate for your car, the police officials will not be able to recognize your car due to the difficulty in reading the car number. As a result, they won’t be able to catch the thieves.

          Similarly, if a person violates the traffic rules and breaks a signal, the police will not be able to recognize the car due to difficulty in reading the fancy number plate on the vehicle. Therefore, the authorities have prescribed a format and a few guidelines for registration number plates of all cars.

          Moreover, you must only use the prescribed language of English for letters and Arabic for numbers on your car license number plate. This is important in order to bring uniformity in the language used on the number plate. If people start using regional languages for their cars, it may get difficult for cops in other states to recognize the vehicle. Not every cop in every part of the country may know all the regional languages. As a result, they won’t be able to recognize a car from another state with a number plate written in a regional language.

          What Will Happen if You Use a Fancy Number Plate for Your Car?

          If you are caught driving a car with a fancy number plate, a challan can be issued to you. As per Section 51 and 177 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, you will be required to pay a fine if you are caught using a fancy number plate. At present, the fine amount is of Rs 1,000. However, the amount may vary from one place to another.

          In some states, your license can also get suspended if you are caught using a fancy number plate for your car despite repeated warnings. For instance, the Mumbai Traffic Police in 2019 had proposed with the RTO to suspend the licenses of repeat offenders. If a car’s number plate is not changed to the prescribed format despite a challan and a text warning, the police can request the RTO to cancel the license.

          Moreover, breaking the motor laws can also land you into some troubles when it comes to raising a car insurance claim. You won’t be able to raise a claim while your license has been suspended by the authorities. Even the best car insurance policy will not be able to come to your rescue in this situation. 

          Summing It Up

          Personalizing your car’s number plate may be extremely enticing. However, going against the law of the country is never a good idea and the motor laws of India ban the usage of fancy number plates in cars. Therefore, you are advised to follow the prescribed format and guidelines for the license number plate of your car. If you are caught violating this law, you may attract heavy fines which even the best car insurance policy may not cover on your behalf.

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