Dismissing a bunch of petitions by auto-rickshaw owners, the Delhi High Court on Monday gave the green signal for installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) and printers in auto-rickshaws for tracking their movement and providing print-outs of fares for distances travelled to passengers to provide secure and transparent travel to them in the Capital.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also justified the recovery of Rs.7, 500 from the auto-rickshaw operators for installation of the two equipment, saying that they would be able to collect it from passengers by levying 50 paise per km on them as allowed by the Government.

The Bench also passed adverse observations on the conduct and behaviour of auto-rickshaw-drivers with passengers, saying that “any inhabitant of Delhi would vouch for the infamy of the auto rickshaw drivers. They are not only known to overcharge but also to take longer rather than direct routes for their own benefit and to the detriment of their patrons/consumers. Installation of GPS/GPRS would create a proof/evidence of the route taken by the auto rickshaw driver”.

Allowing State Transport Authority (STA) argument that the system would be fitted into the auto-rickshaws to ensure security to passengers, the Bench said: “As far as explanation given by the respondent STA of the revised conditions being in the interest of security is concerned, the Ranga and Billa case, in which the auto rickshaw/taxi driver had driven two siblings, barely of age, to a lone spot and attempted to outrage the modesty of the girl and upon resistance killed them still sends shivers down the spine of Delhiites.”

“Children and girls hesitate from travelling in an auto rickshaw for the fear of being placed under the control of the auto rickshaw driver. We do not find anything wrong in the decision of the respondent STA in this scenario to provide for fitting each auto rickshaw with the GPS/GPRS and printing devices so as to regulate their plying thereof,” the Bench said.

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