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Ban e-rickshaws, says HC after govt says they are unauthorised

The Transport department had stopped taking action against e-rickshaws after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said the Motor Vehicles Rules will be changed to accommodate them

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2014 2:17 am
The government told court that the operation of e-rickshaws ‘as per the law, as it stands today, is illegal’. (Source: IE Archive) The government told court that the operation of e-rickshaws ‘as per the law, as it stands today, is illegal’. (Source: IE Archive)

In an affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, the Delhi government has said that e- rickshaws were a “public service vehicle” which would be regulated under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, but “their operation as per the law as it stands today, is wholly unauthorised and illegal.”

Filed by the Chief Secretary, the affidavit submitted before the court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul also states that the Transport department has stopped taking action against e-rickshaws, after Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that the Central Motor Vehicles Rules will be changed to accommodate e-rickshaws. “The Ministry of Road Transport is apprised of the matter and is looking into the amendment of the Act,” says the affidavit.

The bench asked the government to explain how e-rickshaws were being allowed to ply on city roads if they are not complying with rules and regulations, as admitted by the authorities. “He (Chief Secretary) is saying e-rickshaws are to be treated as a public service vehicles. So how are they plying if they are not complying with the rules and regulations?” the bench said, adding, “Just ban them.”

The court also observed that people are getting injured by e-rickshaws and drivers get away scot-free because the vehicles are unregistered. Advocate Sugrive Dubey, appearing for petitioner Shanawaz Khan, alleged that many people have died in accidents involving e-rickshaws in the last few months.

According to the affidavit, there was confusion as there seemed to be “two sets of regulations” for e- rickshaws depending on the engine power and speed of the vehicles. The situation was “not administratively feasible”,  says the affidavit.

The government has also stated that no manufacturer had been granted approval by any designated agency. It further said that “unscrupulous manufacturers and importers disguised their products as legal ones under the garb of the exemption clause”, given under the CMV Act.

The affidavit was filed pursuant to the High Court’s order of May 21 this year, directing the Chief Secretary to disclose under what circumstances e-rickshaws were allowed to ply on Delhi roads. The court had issued the direction after going through the 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.

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  1. A
    Jul 23, 2014 at 11:37 pm
    In India there are Jeeps and Six seater Autos are plying with more than double the capacity. There is no action against them. Only e-rickshaws which are user-friendly and pollution free are being treated as unauthorised. In Mumbai Locals trains are running with more than 200% capacity they are not declared un-authorised. In Pune PMT buses are running more than 150% of the capacity and people have to wait for more than an hour to get a bus. How this is allowed. I feel that even Pune -e-rickshaw should be allowed because Bus service will never improve in Pune with the present road conditions. If riach and upper middle cl motor cars start plying in Pune road in near future the traffic conditions will more deteriorate. In next 10-20 years Pune city is bound to become . E-rickshaw will only ease transport easier but add to traffic woos. But at present there is no alternative. In Aurangabad, Nasik and Nagpur and other cities of Maharashtra e-rickshaw will be found more useful. Only educated youth should be allowed to ply the e-rickshaws on roads.
    1. H
      Jul 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm
      I guess they need to follow the rules also. But e-rickshaw is a good idea though. It is a clean source of transportation. It does not cause more pollution in form of smoke.