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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What colour should an auto driver’s uniform be? Delhi HC issues notice on plea by auto drivers’ union

The plea seeks the striking down of any rules or conditions requiring the drivers to wear a uniform, while arguing that their fundamental rights were being violated by "labelling" them.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: July 23, 2021 7:56:21 am
In the petition filed by a union of auto drivers, it was stated that a fine of up to Rs 20,000 was being imposed on them for not wearing uniforms.(Express File Photo/Abhinav Rajput)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Delhi government and the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in a petition filed by a union of auto drivers, alleging that a fine of up to Rs 20,000 was being imposed on them for not wearing uniforms, despite contradictory rules and permit conditions in respect of its colour.

The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh granted time to the authorities for filing their response to the petition by the union Chalaak Shakti and others, and listed the case for August 20.

In the petition, Chalaak Shakti stated that while Rule 7 of Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules prescribes the uniform colour to be khaki, permit conditions ask the drivers to wear a grey uniform. The plea seeks the striking down of any rules or conditions requiring the drivers to wear a uniform, while arguing that their fundamental rights were being violated by “labelling” them.

“There are dozens of prominent shades of both khaki and grey, but no shade has been stipulated, giving enforcement authorities in the field huge discretion about who they want to prosecute. The word uniform itself has not been defined, whether it is pant-shirt, safari-suit or kurta-pajama,” argues the plea, adding even the specifications of fabrics, trims and accessories were missing.

The petition also contends that the Motor Vehicle Act states the permit conditions shall be “subject to any rules that may be made under this Act.”

“It is a well settled law that an executive order, which the permit conditions are, cannot override the rules which have been framed by the legislature, i.e., the rule making authority,” the plea reads, adding that authorities were strictly enforcing the condition of grey uniform and ignoring the rule that prescribes khaki colour.

The union has also said there was a popular but misconceived belief among the field staff of the Delhi government and Delhi Police that an owner driving a vehicle is permitted to wear white uniform.

“As a result, many drivers can be seen wearing white clothes. None of them has ever been prosecuted for not wearing a uniform,” states the petition.

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