‘Unregulated e-ricks must go’

July 24, 2014

 The Times of India (Delhi)

 HC Slams Delhi Govt, Orders It To Find Solution By July 31

The Delhi government on Wednesday came under fire before the Delhi high court for failure to regulate or check e-rickshaws.HC made it clear to the authorities it won’t permit erickshaws plying “uncontrolled“ on the roads saying “just ban them“.

“We will not permit this unregulated transport. It has to be regulated. They (e-rickshaws) can’t ply uncontrolled without license, registration or insurance. You better make sure in Delhi there is no unregulated traffic,“ a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said while hearing a plea that sought regulation of e-rickshaws.

The court made the stinging observations after going through an affidavit filed by the chief secretary saying these vehicles are to be treated as “public service vehicles“ which are “required to comply with all extant rules and regulations“ governing operation of such vehicles.

The affidavit added that no separate policy is required for governing e-rickshaws as they are already covered by the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act and their operation “as per the law, as it stands today, is unauthorized and illegal“.

“He (chief secretary) is saying e-rickshaws to be treated as public service vehicle. So how are they plying if they are not complying with the rules and regulations,“ the bench asked.

The court noted that people are getting injured by e_rickshaws whose drivers get away scot free because the vehicles are unregistered. HC was hearing a petition by one Shanawaz Khan seeking a ban on the vehicles.

In the affidavit, the chief secretary admitted that the Delhi government stopped taking action against e-rickshaws after Union Minister of Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, announced that laws pertaining to such vehicles will be changed to take them out of ambit of MV Act.

The affidavit informed the high court that the union

ministry directed civic agencies, instead of transport department, to frame policy for regulating operation of erickshaws.But HC was not convinced and directed the Delhi government to “come with all the answers“ on July 31, the next date of hearing.

“Time is running out. People are getting injured. We will give you a week’s time to tell us what you intend to do,“ the bench remarked.

The court had issued the direction after going through the Delhi government’s reply that though e-rickshaws are operating illegally , the government is “not competent“ to stop them as it will entail amendment to the MV Act.

In his petition, Khan alleged that e-rickshaws are operating with four 12 volt batteries with power output of 650 to 850 watt and are designed to ferry only four people, including the driver. But the vehicles routinely ferry more than 8 people at a time and endanger lives, it said.

Earlier on February 19, the high court had asked the Delhi government to appraise it of any policy decisions taken for regulating e-rickshaws which ply without a license or number plates.

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