New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today issued show cause notices to the Traffic Police and the Transport Department as to why contempt proceedings not be initiated against them for not taking action against erickshaws which are lying despite a ban on them.
The court expressed surprise that erickshaws are still running “with impunity” in the national capital despite the September 9, 2014 order restraining them from plying and suggested that the vehicles be seized and their tyres deflated.
“Issue show cause notice to Respondent 2 (Anil Shukla, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic)) and 3 (Satish Mathur, Transport Commissioner, Government of Delhi) on why contempt action be not initiated against them. Response be filed in four weeks. List on December 18,” Justice V K Shali said. The judge said that as per pictures submitted by petitioner Shahnawaz Khan, erickshaws were plying on different dates earlier and even now and the police are not taking any action against them.
The court also observed that most of the erickshaws are plying in Chandni Chowk area.
Advocate Zubeda Begum, appearing for the respondents which also included Police Commissioner Bhimsen Bassi, said that a draft notification on permitting plying of erickshaws has been issued on October 8 by the Transport Ministry and objections against the same have been invited. The final notification will be issued soon, she told the court.
The order came on Shahnawaz's contempt plea, filed through advocate Sugrive Dubey, alleging that ercikshaws are continuing to operate in violation of the court's September 9 direction.
The high court had on September 9 held that its ban on plying of erickshaws in the national capital will continue as they are illegal as per existing laws.
Observing that “what is prohibited under the law cannot be permitted”, the court had directed the Delhi government and the authorities concerned to act in conformity with the laws and “prevent the plying of unregistered erickshaws” It had left it to Parliament and the Centre to decide what legislative changes are need to be introduced to regulate the plying of erickshaws.
It had also rejected the Centre's argument that there is a vacuum in legislation and till the same is filled, the court may temporarily allow plying of e-rickshaws. The court had also held that erickshaws have to be registered, need to have permits, be covered by an appropriate policy of insurance and driven by persons holding driving licences.
The court's September 9 order had come on Shahnawaz's writ petition opposing the running of erickshaws alleging they are designed to carry only four people but they ferry more than that, thus endangering the lives of the passengers.
The court had on July 31 banned plying of e-rickshaws on the roads of the national capital saying “prima facie they are a hazard to other traffic as well as citizens”. Seeking lifting of the ban, the Ministry of Transport and the association had pleaded that till the plying of erickshaws is made lawful by Parliament and the central government, the court may permit their operation on the basis of temporary guidelines framed by the Centre.