The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider objections to the Delhi governments new policy,which allows one permit per person for fresh applicants and multiple permits for old players.
The governments Transport department had earlier this month issued a public notice,following the apex courts permission to issue 45,000 fresh permits for three-wheelers in Delhi. The Capital has 55,000 auto-rickshaws and,in pursuant to the apex court order,1 lakh auto-rickshaws could ply on its roads.
This policy was prepared while keeping in mind that auto-rickshaw drivers in the Capital demanded more money from commuters by claiming that they had to buy permits at exorbitant rates from those who had multiple permits.
This notice had stated that only one permit would be issued to a person but it failed to address issues relating to those who have multiple permits,since there was no such bar in the old policy.
On Tuesday,while appearing for NGO Nyayabhoomi,advocate Prashant Bhushan sought to put forth this flaw in the new policy. He contended that it was against the principles of equality and transparency that those applying for fresh permits were subjected to the one-man-one-permit condition.
While there is an unending waiting list of applicants waiting for fresh permits,there are scores of people who still have more than one permit. Then there is a huge racket of transferring and selling these permits. At times,the cost of procuring these permits may exceed the value of the three-wheeler itself, said Bhushan.
He asked the court to consider issues pertaining to multiple permits and their transfer to ensure a level playing field.
The new policy also fails to contain fraudulent activities in transfer (of permits). It prescribes two methods of transferring a permit; either after five years or with permission from the transport authority. In most cases,the transfers take place with the help of corrupt officers, said Bhushan.
At this,a Bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad asked the government to adduce their policy. What is your policy? There has to be a fixed policy, the bench told Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra,who appeared for the Transport department.
The ASG produced their new policy before the court,read out a few clauses and told the bench that the petitioners grievances should be met by the terms.
Bhushan,however,remained dissatisfied. There has been a CBI inquiry into this permit business. While we agree with what they propose to do in the future,they must address these issues. Why should anyone hold multiple permits when the new policy prohibits it? he said.
The court then asked Bhushan to file his reply to the governments new policy in two weeks so that it could consider the objections and pass appropriate orders on the on the next date of hearing.