The Madras High Court has ordered notice on a writ petition seeking a direction to authorities to issue forthwith appropriate guidelines while granting new permits for autorickshaws in the State.

In their common petition, the Pallavapuram Auto Consultants Owners Welfare Association and the Chennai Perunagar Peravai Auto Otunergal Sangam (auto drivers' association) said the government, by a G.O. dated May 13 this year, lifted the ban on permits and proceeded to issue applications without any guidelines. This had resulted in grave injustice.

When the matter came up before a vacation Bench, comprising Justices V. Dhanapalan and D. Hariparanthaman, the government took notice. As petitioners' counsel expressed urgency in the matter, the Bench posted it for the next sitting during the vacation.

The petitioners said they had no grievance over issuing of new permits. However transport authorities had chosen to act in a “whimsical manner as they have not been properly guided or directed as to how to go about with regard to new autorickshaw permits.” This would result in a chaotic situation apart from misrepresentation and manipulation and colourable exercise of power in grant of permits. The petitioners said the applications were being sold/received without reference to the guidelines issued in a G.O. of March 2007, which stipulated an annual income ceiling of Rs.36,000, fixation of minimum educational qualification of a pass in Standard VIII, possession of a valid driving licence with a minimum of three years experience.

Unless some directions were issued, more particularly those issued in March 2007, there was every possibility of the authorities exercising their power in a colourable manner, the associations said.