The Bombay High Court said Monday the state government’s direction to make knowledge of Marathi language a pre-condition for all those applying for new auto-rickshaw permits was “prima facie not correct”. A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a petition filed by the Mira Bhyander Autorickshaw Chalak Sangathan challenging a circular issued by the government to RTOs in 2016, according to which from November 1, 2016, permits for new autorickshaws would be granted only to those applicants who can speak Marathi.
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This rule, however, is not applicable to those who already have valid permits. The petitioner argued that imposing this condition while issuing badges to autorickshaw drivers was still understandable but this condition while issuing permits did not make sense as in some cases the permit was taken by the owner of the autorickshaw for renting it out to others. Agreeing to this argument, the bench said, “Prima facie this condition cannot be applied while issuing permits. It is not correct.” The court said it would pass judgment in the case Tuesday.
Defending its circular, the government said it was only demanding a basic knowledge of Marathi.