The Delhi government is all set to initiate the process of issuing 10,000 fresh permits for autorickshaws, months after scrapping a similar scheme, which had run into allegations of corruption.
The Delhi High Court Wednesday allowed the government to proceed with the new scheme after it was informed that licences would be issued through an “electronic module”, but said that the 324 auto drivers who had purchased new autos after getting permits in 2014-2015 should be “protected financially”.
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The Delhi government had in December 2014 started a scheme for auto licencing permits, and had issued 932 letters of intent, following which complaints had been made alleging corruption and nepotism. The scheme was scrapped in March. The government had then asked the CBI to investigate the allegations. A writ petition was filed by the Auto Tipahia Union challenging the decision to scrap the permits.
Observing that the “whole thing (2014-15 licencing scheme) seems to be rigged” and it could not protect the auto drivers if the “process is found to be vitiated”, a bench of Justice Manmohan also declined to allow drivers, who had earlier been given permits, to operate.
The CBI, in a status report to the High Court on Wednesday, said that out of 251 applications received on the first day of the scheme for auto permits in 2015, only four had been issued letters of intent. The letters of intent were, however, supposed to be issued on a first come, first served basis.
Advocate Sushil Kumar and Rishi Manchanda, appearing for the auto union, told the court that there was “no proof” that those who had been given licences were involved in the alleged scam and asked for relief for the auto drivers.
The bench has asked the Delhi government counsel to get instructions on the suggestions.