Stop passing buck on e-rickshaws: HC to govt

Pulling up the Delhi government and the civic agencies for "passing the buck", the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the government and civic agencies to file a reply within two weeks on a plea to regulate the e-rickshaws.

The court of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Jayant Nath came down heavily on the government after the counsels for both the civic agencies and Delhi government said the battery-operated e-rickshaws did not come under the jurisdiction of either of them. "You keep saying I don't have the power. You have the responsibility here. What if something happens tomorrow?" the court said.

The court was hearing arguments on a petition filed by social worker Shanawaz Khan through advocate Sugriv Dubey. The petition sought a ban on the e-rickshaws, claiming that since the e-rickshaws have no registration numbers, the vehicles put passengers at risk as they cannot even claim insurance in case of a serious accident.

During the hearing, counsel for the Delhi government told the court that as the civic agencies run rickshaws, the e-rickshaws also came under it and the government has nothing to do with it. However, the counsel appearing for municipal corporations said e-rickshaws would come under the Transport department of the Delhi government as they were "motorised vehicles" within the definition of the Motor Vehicles' Act.

The petition said e-rickshaws were operated with four batteries and designed to ferry four people, including the driver. But the drivers of these vehicles, at times, seated up to eight passengers, endangering their lives.

The petition said with a speed ranging between 20-40 km per hour, e-rickshaws were not only a safety hazard but also a reason for traffic jams in many areas.

Advocate Dubey also contended that the vehicle is neither insured nor can any claim be made for injuries caused by e-rickshaws.

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