Monday 24 October 2016

Can't Allow Erickshaws Without Guidelines: HC

New Delhi

The ban on erickshaws in the city will continue as the Delhi High Court today made it clear that it cannot allow them to ply unless there are guidelines to regulate them and asked the Centre to come up with draft regulations on the issue.

"Our concern is very very clear and we cannot allow these erickshaws without any regulations," a bench of justice B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said.

Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand, appearing for the Centre and the Delhi Government, said the issue relates to the livelihood of around 50,000 erickshaw owners and they be allowed to ply them under the supervision of Delhi Police and civic agencies.

"We will not allow any illegal acts. You show us under which guidelines or norms the police will regulate them. Have a proper policy then only we can allow it as the rule of law should must prevail," the bench said.

"We are also not happy but we should not allow chaos in the capital of the country, which should be a role model city for all of us," it said.

The ASG then informed the court that the Centre will frame the draft guidelines on the issue and erickshaws can be allowed to ply for the time being till the guidelines are replaced by statutory amendments.

The court then fixed the matter on August 8 for hearing review petition of Battery Rickshaw Welfare Association.

The court had yesterday agreed to hear the petition seeking review of its order banning e-rickshaws on the roads in the national capital.

Advocate R K Kapoor, who had appeared for the association, had sought an urgent hearing of the matter saying an advisory has been issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to the chief secretaries of all the state governments and Union territories regarding regulation of electric motor propelled three–wheeled vehicles (e-rickshaws and ecarts).

He had contended that this advisory has not been brought to the attention of the court.

The high court on July 31 had ordered a ban on plying of e-rickshaws in the national capital, saying they are illegally running on Delhi roads and "prima facie a hazard to other traffic as well citizens." 

The review petition also contended that lakhs of families depend upon e-rickshaws for their livelihood "and in the interest of justice, this court may review/modify the order dated July 31".

The petition also sought directions to the authorities to act upon the ministry's advisory which "specifically provides that in order to give vehicles for last mile connectivity to commuters and livelihood to manually operated three-wheeled rickshaws and carts, it was decided to facilitate their replacement with electric motor powered three-wheeled rickshaws and carts."

The high court's directions banning erickshaws had come on a petition filed by social worker Shanawaz Khan alleging that e-rickshaws, which are operated with power output of 650 to 850 watt and are designed to ferry only four people, including the driver, were carrying more than eight people at a time, endangering their lives.

The bench had earlier taken note of news reports of the death of a three-year-old boy and the injuries suffered by his mother as a result of an accident involving an erickshaw. The bench has listed the main matter for further hearing on August 14.

Earlier, the high court had asked the Delhi government to apprise it of any policy decisions taken for regulating e-rickshaws which ply without any licence or number plates.

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