Justice V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the Transport Secretary, Transport Commissioner and Commissioner of Police, returnable by two weeks.

The petitioners contended that auto-rickshaws have been granted particular contract carriage permit to ferry passengers on hire or reward under a contract from one point to another without stopping to pick up or get down along the line of that route passengers included in the contract.
    
They alleged 'Ape' and 'Tata Magic' vehicles were also granted contract carriage permit for similar purpose but are virtually used as stage carriage' permit vehicles to carry or adapted to carry passengers for hire or reward at separate fares paid for the whole journey or for various stages.
     
While describing the distinction between the two, the petitioners submitted that the ‘contract carriage’ is engaged for the whole journey between two points for carriage of a person or persons hiring it but has no right to pick up other passengers en route.
     
‘Stage carriage’ on the other hand runs between two points irrespective of any prior contract and is boarded by passengers en route to pay the fare for the distance they proposed to travel.
    
They alleged that by collecting separate fares from the passengers, who pay for the distance they proposed to travel, the Ape and Tata Magic vehicles are being used as stage carriage and not as a contract carriage.
     
They also contended that those vehicles are being used to pick up other passengers en route between the two points that should be treated as vehicles plying as stage carriages, which was in violation of the conditions of contract carriages permit.
    
The petitioners said there had been no response from the authorities concerned to their representation to fix the rates like the other auto-rickshaws and hence they had filed the present writ petition.

(Agencies)

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