Delhi High Court: In the wake of a recent writ petition highlighting the growing nuisance and safety hazards caused by plying of e-rickshaws in Delhi, the Court has termed the plying of unregistered e-rickshaws as illegal. It was held that since the amended Rule 2(u) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMV Rules) does not apply on e-rickshaws, they are “motor vehicles” as defined under S. 2(28) of the Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act) and are covered by the expressions “public service vehicle” and “transport vehicle” u/Ss. 2(35) and 2(47) MV Act. Since, all provisions of MV Act, applicable to “motor vehicles” and “public service vehicle” will apply in respect of e-rickshaws also, hence, they should be registered with appropriate permits and insurance; and should be driven by persons holding a driving licence.

In the instant case petition was filed seeking directions to be issued to the respondents to stop plying of e-rickshaws in the area falling under Government of NCT Delhi, as they were unregistered, uninsured and did not have fitness certificates. Additional Solicitor General Ms Pinky Anand, contended that till appropriate changes are made in the MV Act and CMV Rules, the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, can prescribe guidelines enabling the plying of e-rickshaws in the interests of families of e-rickshaws drivers. Answering in negative, the Court said that Courts are not creators of law, but the interpreters and guardians of law and even though validity of MV Act and CMV Rules has not been questioned in the petition, the valid prohibitions, therein, cannot be overlooked. 

It would be relevant to mention that the Court in its earlier order dt.31-07-2014, has already held that as per the existing laws plying of e-rickshaws is illegal. While confirming the said decision in aforesaid order and the directions given therein, the Court allowed the present petition only to the extent that the respondents should act in conformity with the MV Act and CMV Rules and prevent plying of unregistered e-rickshaws. Moreover, the legislative changes in the statutory rules that may be introduced in the future, are to be decided by Parliament and the Central Government. Shanawaz Khan v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi, W.P.(C) 5764/2013, decided on 09-09-2014

To read the full judgment, refer SCCOnLine

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