Stating that e-rickshaws are ‘illegal’ according to existing laws, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected the Central government’s plea to lift the ban on e-rickshaws.
A bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul also directed the Delhi government and the authorities concerned to act in conformity with the laws and “prevent the plying of unregistered e-rickshaws”.
“For the present, a mandamus can certainly be issued to ensure that what is prohibited by law is not permitted in action. Therefore, we confirm our direction given on July 31, 2014, that respondents (Delhi government and other authorities) shall act in conformity with the said Act and Central Motor Vehicles (CMV) Rules and prevent the plying of unregistered e-rickshaws.”
The bench left it to Parliament and the Central government to decide what legislative changes needed to be introduced to regulate the plying of e-rickshaws.
“In sum, the plying of unregistered e-rickshaws is illegal as per the law as it exists today. We can’t anticipate the legislative changes that may be brought about or the alterations in the statutory rules that may be introduced in the future. That is for Parliament and the Central government to consider and act upon,” the court said.
The court rejected the Centre’s argument that there is a vacuum in legislation.
The bench said, “In the case before us, there is no vacuum or gaps to be filled or no absence of legislation; on the contrary there is a legislative prohibition.”
The bench also added that none of the decisions cited by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Centre, and advocate R K Kapoor, appearing for the Battery Rickshaw Welfare Association, “come to their aid”.
The judgment came on the plea of social activist Shanawaz Khan, filed through advocate Sugrive Dubey, opposing the running of e-rickshaws alleging that they are designed to carry only four people but ferry more than that, thus endangering the lives of passengers.