Asserting that quadricycles will “fundamentally change the country’s transport economy,” the Centre has approached the Supreme Court for a go-ahead on plying of this new category of motorised four-wheelers and also cited huge investments made by the manufacturers.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have moved in appeal against an order of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which had stayed the government’s notification to allow quadricycles from October 1, 2014.
Requesting the apex court to set aside the restraint order issued by the HC in October, the Centre’s petition has asserted that the Central Motor Vehicles (1st Amendment) Rules, 2014, made in February 2014, was “urgent and hence was required to be enforced immediately.”
Currently, Bajaj Auto is India’s only automobile manufacturer which has a product — RE60 — meeting the specifications for quadricycles. Mahindra & Mahindra too has started work on a quadricycle.
In its petition, the Ministry has pointed out that “people have already started manufacturing the quadricycle and a large amount of investment has already been made and if the interim order is not stayed then all investments will be a total wastage and third party interests would also be jeopardised.”
The government said quadricycle was an upgraded auto-rickshaw with four wheels and doors, primarily meant for intra-city transportation and that the new vehicles, along with auto were intended to expand affordable transportation. The petition maintained that quadricycles had to meet stringent emission norms, adding their speed limit was kept at lower than the cars in order to ensure safety. It added that quadricycles would be allowed to be driven only by licensed drivers after due registration.
The HC stayed the operation of the notification on a PIL filed by Hyderabad-based Vekata Triveni Prasad Ganapathiraju, who had contended that the issuance of the notification without amending the Motor Vehicles Act was in gross violation of the rule-making power of the government. The PIL further claimed that quadricycles were proved to be unsafe and several countries have already banned them.
A committee formed by the SC to look into road safety is also examining the notification. Various other high courts are seized of the petitions against plying of quadricycles and many of these petitioners, have also alleged the Centre’s move was to favour some industrial houses which have the vehicles ready to ply on roads.