E-rickshaw fines in New Delhi see a rise after HC order

Passengers with face masks seen boarding an e-rickshaw. | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

After the Delhi High Court last month came down heavily on the Transport Department over e-rickshaws and autos plying without fitness and registration certificates, the department has tightened the noose on the offenders, leading to a rise in fines against e-rickshaw drivers.

As many as 3,273 challans were issued against e-rickshaws in the first four months of 2022 in the Capital, which is three times higher the challans issued against auto-rickshaws, the Transport Department told the Delhi High Court in an affidavit on Monday. The marked increase in the number of challans against e-rickshaws came after the High Court’s observation last month — jumping from 694 in March to 1,984 in April.

There are 80,583 e-rickshaws plying on the Delhi roads whose fitness certificate expired by December 22, 2021. Similarly, the fitness certificates of 9,451 auto-rickshaws have expired, but continue to ply on the roads of Delhi, the Transport Department submitted.

On April 7, while hearing a petition by auto-rickshaw driver Ajit Kumar, represented by advocate Vishal Khanna, seeking to remove old auto-rickshaws from roads either by scrapping them or enforcing the replacement scheme applicable to old auto-rickshaws, the court had said the Transport Department was “not serious” about enforcing the law and directed it to take remedial steps forthwith.

Slew of measures

Responding to the order, the department, in its affidavit, said it has issued a slew of guidelines to encourage e-rickshaw owners to renew their fitness certificates.

E-rickshaw and e-cart owners are being informed repeatedly through SMS in Hindi about the requirement of fitness certificates, the department said, adding that the text messages are constantly being sent every week since April 1, 2022.

In order to discourage unauthorised plying, the department said from March 29, it has mandated possessing a driving licence for registration of new e-rickshaws. Also, while selling e-rickshaws that would be registered in Delhi, all manufacturers have been directed to check for a valid e-rickshaw driving licence issued by the State’s Transport Department.

The department added that in order to encourage the owners of e-rickshaws to come forward for the renewal of fitness certificates, an order was issued on May 5, 2022 for providing exemption/waiver from payment of additional fee on account of delay in fitness certificate renewal for e-rickshaws and e-carts up to June 15, 2022.

The High Court has scheduled the next hearing for Wednesday.

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Printable version | May 11, 2022 7:58:30 am |