Delhi HC refuses to stay Centre's decision to allow quadricycles

The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the Centre's notification allowing running of a new category of motorised four-wheelers - quadricycle - in cities across India from October 1 after a petition claimed that these vehicles were unsafe.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the Centre's notification allowing running of a new category of motorised four-wheelers - quadricycle - in cities across India from October 1 after a petition claimed that these vehicles were unsafe.

"We are not inclined to give any interim order/relief," a bench of justices G Rohini and RS Endlaw said while hearing the plea which claimed that quadricycles do not have proper safety standards as required for the Indian roads.

The court issued notice to the Centre and asked them to file their counter affidavit on the plea filed by two Supreme Court lawyers, Kirti Mishra and Arvind Sharma.

The court's observation came after central government's standing counsel Monika Arora informed it that the Supreme Court has formed a committee to look into the aspect of road safety and the notification allowing quadricycles has been challenged before that panel as well.

The panel is set to hear the matter in October, she said.

She also said that the Delhi Auto Rikshaw Sangh has also given its representation to the committee, which had heard them on July 22 and will submit their report before the apex court.

The court has now fixed the matter for December 2.

The petitioners have said that though they are used in many parts of the world as personal transport vehicles, they have proven to be "unsafe on many parameters". They alleged the Centre's move was to favour some industrial houses which have the vehicles ready to ply on roads from October 1.

The quadricycles have a hard top and doors, and are largely expected to replace the auto-rickshaws.

The petitioners have contended that the Centre, before issuing its February 9 notification should have considered and implemented the safety measures suggested by an expert committee.

In response to this, Arora informed the court that the notification was in public domain since August 27 last year.

"Since then where were they?," she said. 

The petitioners have said "the road transport ministry has completely ignored the suggestions of the Tyagi Committee, which suggested that quadricycles were not safe for Indian roads".

Challenging the notification, the petitioners have said the government ignored the report of the expert panel and "acted arbitrarily and injudiciously in bringing out the impugned notification".

The Centre had constituted the Committee under the chairmanship of Dinesh Tyagi, director of the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), for the purpose of framing rules and regulations for the proposed new category of vehicles.

It had recommended, "The rules were to be included in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules under Quadricycles and to decide the parameters for their safety."

The PIL has sought quashing of the notification and implementation of the Tyagi Committee recommendations before the quadricycles are introduced.

"The introduction of a new vehicle by the name of quadricycle by way of subordinate legislation is a tailor-made rule to favour some industrial houses which have the vehicles ready to ply on roads from October 1," the plea has claimed.

It has said quadricycles were considered unsafe in Europe, Africa and some parts of Asia.

"It is rather unfortunate that the Centre has miserably failed to consider any of the safety aspects, valid suggestions given especially by an expert committee constituted for this very purpose," the petition has said.

"Quadricycles are proven to be unsafe and are not environmentally friendly worldwide," it has claimed.

"It may cause severe accidents if it plies on Indian roads, besides the fact that over a period of time, the central government may implement its hidden agenda of phasing out or putting an end to the millions of auto-rickshaws... which will cause severe hardship and irretrievable loss to millions of auto-rickshaw drivers and their families," it has said. 

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