Even as the Mumbai Autorickshawmens Union went ahead with its day-long strike in the city,the Bombay High Court on Monday asked the state government to ensure police protection to auto drivers who were willing to ply their vehicles.
The court,which took up the matter on urgent mentioning,also directed the transport department to provide alternative transport arrangements,such as extra buses,to reduce inconvenience to evening commuters.
The directions were given in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a city consumer forum named Mumbai Grahak Panchayat,which challenged the strike and demanded the court declare it illegal and unconstitutional. The petitioners also demanded that the court impose a penalty of Rs 1.25 crore on the union.
The petition noted that the protest was organised in spite of a Re-1 fare hike announced by the state government and the formation of a committee to address the concerns of the union. It contended that the union is resorting to high-handed tactics and holding the city to ransom.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar issued a notice to the union and posted the case for further hearing on Tuesday.