New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central and state governments on a plea seeking directions to the authorities both at levels to prohibit e-rickshaw from playing on the roads as they threaten the safety of the people travelling in them.
Issuing the notice, a bench of Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Nariman wanted to know whether the Motor Vehicle Act and the rules framed under it were applicable to e-rickshaws.
The petition said that inaction on the part of transport departments across the states was wholly "illegal, arbitrary, malafide, and against the principles of natural justice".
The petition said that under Article 21 of the constitution, it was incumbent upon the government to protect the life and property of the citizens.
Initially, the court asked the petitioner, Bibhash Karmarkar from South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, what would be the liability if a cycle rickshaw was to meet an accident.
However, the court decided to examine the matter when in response to a query from it, Karmakar told the court that e-rickshaws travel at the speed of 40 km per hour or even more.
The petitioner said that e-rickshaw sellers were deliberately violating the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 by selling 800 to 1,000 watt powered battery operated e-rickshaws throughout the country.
This was contrary to Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, which says that only motor vehicles below the range of 200 watts and with speed upto 25 Km per hour are exempted from mandatory tests, but still e-rickshaws were going unchecked, he said.
The petition said that playing such illegal e-rickshaws was not at all safe as the batteries operating them are not at all safe as per environment laws.