A day after a toddler slipped from him mother’s arm and fell into a cauldron of hot oil in East Delhi after she was hit by an e-rickshaw from behind, the Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the State Government to stop battery-operated rickshaws from plying on the Capital’s roads. A Division Bench of the High Court took “judicial notice” of the horrific accident involving the death of three-year-old Dev outside a sweetmeat shop in Trilokpuri while hearing a writ petition seeking regulation of e-rickshaws. “Their unregulated plying is prima facie a hazard to other traffic on the road as well as to the citizens,” said the Court.
The Bench, comprising Justice B. D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul, directed the Delhi Government to take steps forthwith to “prevent plying of e-rickshaws [on roads] without fail”. The interim stay will be in force till further orders are passed during the hearing, as the matter will come up before the Court again on August 14.
The Court took note of the Delhi Government’s stand that the operation of e-rickshaws was unauthorised and illegal under the law.
“Till a legislation is framed to regulate them, they have to be stopped,” observed the Bench during the hearing, when petitioner Shanawaz Khan’s counsel drew the Judges’ attention to Wednesday’s accident.
The Delhi Government’s standing counsel Zubeda Begum said a proposal was being considered to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and frame rules to take e-rickshaws with motor power of 650 watts or less out of the ambit of the legislation. The local bodies would then be able to frame rules and guidelines for regulating e-rickshaws, she said.
During the brief hearing, the judges expressed concern over the fact that the e-rickshaws neither had a proper registration, nor were they insured. Besides, there was no specific load or number of passengers they were permitted to carry.
The Delhi Traffic Police also filed an affidavit in the case on Wednesday and informed the Court that unruly e-rickshaws had led to more than 29 accidents, in which two persons had been killed.