The matter relating to overcrowding of autorickshaws and maxicabs in the city has come up before the Madras High Court again.

A petitioner has submitted that due to the ‘callous attitude’ of the police and transport authorities in not strictly enforcing the rules, the lives of travellers, particularly schoolchildren, are in danger.

In his petition, S. John J. Raja Singh of Choolaimedu, a lawyer, has cited online reports on overcrowding of autorickshaws and maxicabs. He said he also visited several schools and found rules pertaining to safety of schoolchildren travelling in such vehicles were not being strictly implemented.

The transport commissioner had written to all schools and RTOs in the State that such vehicles should not carry schoolchildren (up to 12 years) more than 1.5 times the normal seating capacity. However, a majority of autorickshaws and maxicabs violate the safety norms. The matter is a fit case for urgent judicial intervention, he said.

He asked the court for a direction to the police and the school education and transport departments to implement the safety norms/rules with regard to autos, share autos and maxicabs, in letter and spirit. Vehicles carrying schoolchildren should have boards in the front and rear saying ‘on school duty’. 

When the petition came up before a Division Bench comprising Justices R. Banumathi and T.S. Sivagnanam, the special government pleader took notice and sought time to get instructions. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on July 30.

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