July 03, 2009

High Court Relief For Cycle Rickshaw Pullers in Dehli

The Delhi High Court has restrained the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from taking any punitive action against unlicensed rickshaw pullers driving licensed cycle rickshaws in the Capital. The Court said in the order that no licensed rickshaw being driven by an unlicensed rickshaw-puller would be challaned, seized or impounded by the MCD solely on the ground of it being plied by an unlicensed puller.

A special bench comprising Chief Justice AP Shah, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice NK Kaul also asked the civic body not to scrap or dismantle any rickshaw if impounded but grant liberty to charge a fee.

“The unlicensed cycle rickshaw if seized or impounded would not be scrapped or dismantled by the MCD. However, the MCD would be entitled to levy a composition fee of Rs 50 plus Rs 5 per cycle rickshaw towards storage charges or departmental expenses,” the bench said.

The Court’s order came while hearing a petition filed by the.Initiative for Transportation and Development Programmes (ITDP)-an NGO, highlighting the violations of several by laws and its provisions of the Delhi Municipal Committee (DMC) Cycle Rickshaw Bye-Laws 1960, done by the MCD.

While posting the matter for July 9, the bench also suggested the civic body to nominate a senior officer from the traffic police as member in the committee constituted by the MCD to examine the cycle rickshaw policy, existing Cycle Rickshaw By-laws and to study its impact. The court has also directed the report of the panel in the court.

Through its counsel-Anand Nandan, the organization, has approached the High Court requesting that directions should be issued for civic body and Delhi Traffic Police to act in accordance with the law. “Direct the MCD and Delhi Traffic Police to immediately start disseminating information, awareness and training about traffic rules, road signage and safe driving among cycle rickshaw drivers”, said the petition.

Alleging that MCD has been flouting the by-laws, Nandan has submitted in the Court that according to a bylaw of DMC Act, cycle rickshaw pullers should be trained by the civic body. “The MCD has not been implementing its own rules and not providing drivers knowledge of essential rules of the road, signals and road signs to rickshaw pullers”, he said.

According to the petitioners, wearing a khaki uniform, a cap and a metal badge bearing the name of license number for a rickshaw puller is mandatory under the rules but the civic agency has failed to implement the provisions.

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