Delhi High Court has directed the AAP government and the police to frame a comprehensive policy on e-rickshaws plying in the national capital and asked them to consider the Centre’s suggestion for capping the number of these vehicles considering the road capacity here. The court’s direction came while it was hearing a petition filed by power distribution firm BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, which has alleged that authorities have failed to put in place any mechanism and infrastructure for charging and re -charging of e-rickshaws plying on the city roads.
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“Since in another contempt petition….there is a serious allegation that unregistered e-rickshaws are plying on a large scale in Delhi, this court directs state transport authority along with Delhi Police to frame a comprehensive policy with regard to e-rickshaws,” Justice Manmohan said. The high court said, “the intent of the policy should be to ensure that only registered e-rickshaws ply on the roads after payment of registration and insurance policy charges”.
“The state transport authority and Delhi Police would also consider the suggestion of the counsel for Union of India that the number of e-rickshaws should be capped keeping in view the carrying capacity of Delhi roads,” the court said. The counsel, appearing for the petitioner, argued that in absence of necessary infrastructure, e-rickshaws were largely being “unlawfully charged” by the driver or owner by allegedly indulging in electricity theft, impairing their ability to ensure continuous supply of power to its consumers.
The lawyer argued that illegal tapping of the electricity network posed a safety threat to the people and are a constant source of electrocution resulting in loss of human life and property. The petitioner company has also sought a direction to the concerned authorities to take steps for expeditiously setting up of necessary infrastructure to charge the e-rickshaws plying in the area where it supplies power here.
The court has issued notice to the respondents, including the Centre, on the plea and fixed the matter for hearing on March 3. In its order, the court directed that if any complaint is filed by any of the discoms regarding theft of electricity by e-rickshaws, it should be properly investigated by the police in accordance with law.