Delhi HC refuses to relax ban on e-rickshaws
Refusing to relax its order banning plying of e-rickshaws, the Delhi High Court Thursday said this did not bar the authorities from issuing an executive order to regulate them till a proper amendment in law was made to place them under the ambit of Motor Vehicles Act.
A bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul made the observation while refusing the central government's plea to relax its July 31 order and allow their plying in the city on the basis of the interim guidelines devised by ministry of road transport and highways.
"This is not a case where our jurisdiction is required. The legislative has favourably acted (to regularize e-rickshaw), if there is any gap in law, the executive can fill in the vacuum," the bench said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, however, said "they are a different class of vehicles" and were not contemplated under the Motor Vehicle Act when it was enacted.
She contended that the existing rules cannot deal with them and the central government was in the process of amending the law which will take two to three months. "The issue here is of right to livelihood of poor people," Anand said asking the court to give some relief to the e-rickshaw operators based on the interim guidelines.
The court, however, refused to pass any order saying, "we have to be clear about what we are doing," and posted the matter for further hearing on Aug 28.
During the hearing, advocate Sugriv Dubey, appearing for Shanawaz Khan on whose plea e-rickshaws were banned by the court, pointed out that the government had issued various public notices since 2012 holding battery-operated rickshaws as illegal and a hazard to traffic and pedestrians.
He argued that the government has done nothing till date to regulate them. "How can we expect it to act in two months now," Dubey said.
On the other hand, advocate R.K. Kapoor, appearing for Battery Rickshaw Welfare Association, said the e-rickshaw operators and manufacturers were willing to come under any set of rules.
"We want to be regulated. Let there be insurance, licences, registration, limitation on maximum passengers, speed and load. E-rickshaws are environment friendly and commuter friendly," Kapoor said seeking the court's consideration to relax the ban.
The court was not impressed.
"They should be law-friendly also," the bench said adding that it cannot allow 50,000 people to break the law.
(Posted on 21-08-2014)