Delhi High Court lambasted the Delhi government for its inability to regulate or check e-rickshaws plying unbridled on the roads.
HC, while hearing a plea, has said that it would not permit unregulated e-rickshaws without license, registration or insurance and directed the government to ensure that there was no unregulated traffic in Delhi.
After going through an affidavit filed by the chief secretary saying these vehicles are to be treated as “public service vehicles” which are required to comply with all extant rules and regulations and that no separate policy is required for governing e-rickshaws as they are already covered by the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act and their operation as per the existing law is unauthorized and illegal, the court asked how they are plying despite being illegal.
As per the affidavit, the Delhi government stopped taking action against e-rickshaws after Union Minister of Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, announced that laws pertaining to such vehicles will be amended to take them out of purview of MV Act. The union ministry has directed civic agencies, instead of transport department, to design policy for regulating operation of e-rickshaws.
The court observed that people are getting injured by e-rickshaws whose drivers get away scot free because the vehicles are unregistered. The court was hearing a petition by one Shanawaz Khan seeking a ban on the vehicles. The petition alleged that e-rickshaws are operating with four 12 volt batteries with power output of 650 to 850 watt and are designed to transport only four people, including the driver. But the vehicles routinely ferry more than 8 people at a time and endanger lives.
The court had issued the direction after going through the Delhi government’s reply that though e-rickshaws are operating illegally, the government is “not competent” to stop them as it will require amendment to the MV Act.