The Delhi High Court on Thursday banned e-rickshaws from plying on city roads, observing that they were illegal under the present laws.
The court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul directed the municipal corporations, the Transport department and traffic police to “take steps to prevent the plying of e-rickshaws without fail”.
The government told the court that the present law does not regulate e-rickshaws and that there was no system under which these vehicles can be issued licences or registered.
According to Delhi Police data, 29 people have been injured and two killed in accidents involving e-rickshaws till June 30. Besides, 137 cases have been filed against e-rickshaw drivers for rash and negligent driving in the first six months of the year.
The court also took note of Wednesday’s incident, where a two-year-old boy fell into a pan of boiling oil after his mother was hit by an e-rickshaw. “These incidents will happen as long as the government is a silent spectator,” the court observed.
“We would like to express our view that unregulated plying of e-rickshaws… is a hazard to other traffic as well as citizens,” the court said.
During arguments, Delhi government counsel Zubeda Begum told the court that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways was considering amending the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 to take e-rickshaws with engine capacity less than 650 watts out of the ambit of the definition of a ‘motor vehicle’ and place the three-wheeler under the authority of local bodies.
The court said the amendment will “take too much time”. “You say they are illegal. Then you stop them till the law is amended,” the court said.
The orders were issued on a plea filed by social worker Shanawaz Khan, who had sought a ban on e-rickshaws on the ground that they were carrying more passengers than allowed and endangering their lives.