A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha on Monday said that the Centre has to tell 'whether the Motor Vehicle Act and Rules are applicable to e-rickshaws or not?"

The Centre posed this question to Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was present during the brief hearing of the PIL filed by a Kolkata resident.

While the Solicitor General said e-rickshaws were plying on the road without any registration, the bench also comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman, issued notice to Nitin Gadkari-headed Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The bench also sought response from all states on the petition filed by Bibhash Karmakar seeking a ban on battery operated e-rickshaws which are illegally plying on roads.

When the bench wanted to know from him about the petition, he said it was filed because the vehicles are plying without any registration and during accidents cases are not registered under the proper law.

The petition alleged that some e-rickshaw sellers are deliberately violating the Central Motor Vehicle Rules by selling 800 to 1000 watts powered battery operated vehicles throughout the country which was contrary to the provision of the rules.

It said according to the rules, motor vehicles below the range of 250 watts and speed up to 25 km per hour are exempted but e-rickshaws are still being sold above one horse power without subjecting to any test under the rules.

The petitioner also sought to prohibit e-rickshaws from plying on roads till the disposal of the petition.

Plying of illegal e-rickshaws loaded with such batteries are also not safe or certified according to environment act, the petition said.

It alleged that the inaction on the part of authorities are ‘wholly illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and against the principles of natural justice’.

Another plea seeking ban on e-rickshaws is pending before the Delhi High Court which had slammed the city government for not taking action against ‘illegal’ plying of e-rickshaws on the city's roads and "passing the buck" on the issue.

The high court had directed the Chief Secretary to disclose under what circumstances they were allowed to operate.

The petition filed by a social worker has said that e-rickshaws are operated with four batteries of 12 volts with power output of 650 to 850 watt and are designed to ferry only four people, including the driver, but they carry more than 8 people at a time endangering their lives.

Recently, Gadkari had said that the battery-operated rickshaws will not be barred from operating in the national capital and those with motor power till 650W will be considered as non-motorised vehicles.

The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways had rendered e-rickshaws illegal via a notification issued on April 24.


Latest News from State News Desk