HC Adjourns Pettition Against Ban on Erickshaws to Aug 20

The Delhi High Court today adjourned to August 20 the plea seeking review of its ban on plying of erickshaws in the capital as the regular bench was not sitting.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Najmi Waziri renotified the matter as Justice Siddharth Mridul, who hears the petition with Justice Ahmed, was not present.

The matter was mentioned before the bench by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand who also submitted that some compensation has been paid to the mother of a child, who died in an accident involving an erickshaw, and more would be paid soon.

On July 29, the woman carrying her three-year-old son was hit from behind by an erickshaw and the child fell from her lap into a hot oil pan at a sweet shop and died.

Meanwhile, advocate Sugrive Dubey, appearing for main petitioner Shanawaz Khan on whose plea erickshaws were banned, said he wants to submit photographs showing erickshaws are still plying irrespective of the court's orders. The bench, however, directed him to submit these before the next date of hearing on August 20.

On August 11, the high court had said the interim ban on plying of erickshaws on Delhi roads will continue, noting it cannot permit something that is not provided under the law.

"We cannot permit something that is not provided under the law. So make the law," the court had said while refusing to lift the ban on running erickshaws in the interregnum between now and framing of the rules for regulating them.

There are about two lakh erickshaws in the national capital territory of Delhi, all of them unregistered.

The Battery Rickshaw Welfare Association, which has moved the review petition, had on last date of hearing, pleaded before the court that livelihood of over 50,000 families is at stake and sought lifting of the ban as a "humanitarian measure." 

The court, however, had refused to pass any interim orders saying, "We would not have heard you if there had been no humanitarian angle and we have to balance humanitarian angle of 15 million citizens also."

It had also said, "Instead of a guillotine hanging over your head, it would be good for you if there is a law in place. You can then drive erickshaws legitimately."

It had also asked Dubey to go through the revised guidelines and submit his view. The court was also informed on August 11 by the Centre about the revisions or additions it has made in the guidelines submitted before the bench on August 8.

The Centre also submitted that it has included some of the suggestions made by the bench on the last date of hearing. The ASG had told the bench that process of framing rules under the Motor Vehicles Act to regulate erickshaws will take two months and the guidelines are an interim measure.

According to the revised guidelines, the state transport department now proposes to open centres which will consider the applications for grant of licence for driving erickshaws, subject to fulfilling of requisite conditions.

The department also proposes to issue identity card-cum- temporary permission for driving erickshaws in the National Capital Territory of Delhi and these would be valid till October 15.

The ASG, however, had said it would not feasible to issue temporary registrations, as is done for new cars. The court was also informed that two panels have been set up for recommending rules as well as broad framework of guidelines for making rules to regulate erickshaws.

The revised proposal filed by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways also states that "e-rickshaw associations may make an insurance corpus of Rs 10 lakh to cover cases of any grievous hurt or fatal incident for disbursement."

In case of grievous hurt, compensation of Rs 25,000 would be given to the victim and in the case of death by accident caused by e-rickshaw, Rs one lakh be given as compensation.

The proposal also said the Delhi government will issue identity marks and stickers for e-rickshaws.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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