In the past few weeks a lot has been written and spoken about the government’s decision regarding fast tracking the conversion of all vehicle license plates into camera readable computerised ones.
True, license plates need to be modernised, allowing GPS tracking of stolen or smuggled cars. There is a lot of discussion about the utility of such number plates when Nepal does not yet have the infrastructure to make them functional. However, I am more concerned about the fonts. Why should the alphabets and numerical be in European, and not Devnagari?
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The writ submitted to the Supreme Court in 2018 pointed out that Nepal’s Constitution stipulates: ‘The Nepali language in the Devanagari script shall be the official language of Nepal.’ So why are we using Roman fonts? That decision was quashed by the court in 2019, but there is every reason to try to reverse that decision.
The Supreme Court verdict provided a convoluted interpretation of the term ‘language’, citing examples of official documents like passports, identification cards, diplomatic correspondence, international bids that are in English. There is an argument that the Bhutan Bangladesh India Nepal (BBIN) road transport agreement would necessitate license plates with English alphabets.