E-meters for autos is in public interest: HC

The Bombay High Court dismissed a petition filed by Mumbai Autorickshawmens` Union, which makes e-meters mandatory for all autos in the state.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Saturday
dismissed a petition filed by Mumbai Autorickshawmens` Union,
which sought quashing of February 17 Maharashtra government
notification, which makes e-meters mandatory for all autos in
the state in a phased manner.

"We cannot restrain the state government from
implementing this decision, just because it is causing
hardships to few individuals," observed Justice P B Majmudar
and Justice R D Dhanuka.

The judges were of the view that the decision of the
Government to make e-meters mandatory for all autorickshaws in
the state in a phased manner was in larger public interest.

The government argued before the Court that by
ordering mandatory installation of e-meters for autorickshaws,
it had eliminated the possibility of passengers being cheated.

An affidavit filed before the high court by Deputy
Transport Commissioner Laxman Khade said the decision to make
e-meters compulsory was taken after receiving many complaints
of meter tampering and fake tariff cards from citizens.

The government had received 4,823 complaints regarding
tampering of meters between April 1, 2011 and January 31 this
year. During this time, authorities managed to collect Rs
10.31 lakh by way of fine from auto drivers, it said.

The state transport department has suspended permits
of 2,731 rickshaws and driving licenses of 1,710 drivers.

The affidavit said that the e-meters are tested by an
approved institute and will have a seal on them. The seal will
be checked and tested every year. "If an attempt has been made
to tamper the e-meter, it will be reflected at the time of
testing," it contended.

The government also clarified that the cost of
e-meters is in the range of Rs 1,800 to Rs 3,000, which is
almost at par with the mechanical meters.

The high court had earlier refused to stay the
implementation of the government notification, making
electronic meters compulsory for new autos from March 1 and in
existing ones in city from April 1.


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