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Delhi High Court refuses interim permission for plying E-rickshaws

PTI | Last Updated: Friday, August 8, 2014 - 22:51

New Delhi: E-rickshaws will remain off the roads for now with the Delhi High Court today refusing Centre`s request to grant interim nod for plying them despite it filing draft guidelines for framing of rules for these vehicles.

Putting its foot down, the court said that battery-run e-rickshaws will have to comply with the law and they cannot be allowed to ply without registration, insurance and valid driving licenses of their drivers.

"We are not a banana republic. We are among the few vibrant democracies of the world, which are developing. We may not be as rich like some other countries, but can ensure compliance of the law," the bench of justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said.

After the court had earlier said that it cannot allow these vehicles to ply unless guidelines to regulate them are in place, the Centre today submitted the `broad framework of guidelines for making rules for e-rickshaws`.

It sought two months` time for putting in place the rules for these over 50,000 vehicles, which have been banned by the court, and requested for interim nod to allow them to ply on municipal and arterial village roads in the national capital.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said that besides the draft guidelines, it has also formed two panels to recommend draft rules to govern e-rickshaws.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, said there are various proposed actions including that the e-rickshaws will not ply on "high speed" roads and their maximum speed would be less than 25 km per hour with maximum capacity of four persons and 50 kg of load.

"We will be happy to help you (Centre), but it has to be done within the four corners of the law. The drivers of such vehicles must have driving licences. The vehicles must be registered and insured. Do you expect the court to do things which is not permissible in law," the bench said.

When it was submitted that the ban relates to the livelihood of thousands of e-rickshaw owners, the court said, "We are also concerned for them. But, we are also concerned for those who are inside and outside the e-rickshaws as well. The point is they are motor vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act and cannot be allowed to run like this." "Do you want us to suspend the operation of the Motor Vehicles Act. Can we do that?," it said.

The ASG cited an earlier judgement by which illegal mobile towers were allowed to remain with certain conditions.
"We will do the needful within two months. For the interregnum period, the e-rickshaws can be allowed to operate," she said, adding that a lot of things are to be done to ensure registration and issuance of driving licenses.

But as the court did not relent, the ASG sought sometime to re-work the proposal and the matter was listed for hearing on August 11.

The court is hearing a petition filed by Battery Rickshaw Welfare Association seeking review of an earlier order to ban e-rickshaws on the roads in the national capital.

The high court on July 31 had ordered a ban on plying of e-rickshaws in the national capital, saying they are illegally running on Delhi roads and "prima facie a hazard to other traffic as well citizens".

First Published: Friday, August 8, 2014 - 22:51

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