Auto drivers move HC against more permits

Autorickshaw drivers have moved the Delhi High Court against the government’s decision to issue 10,000 new permits even as the apex court had ordered addition of 45,000 more three-wheelers on the city’s roads.

Following the Supreme Court’s last year order to increase the number of autos from 55,000 to a lakh, the city government issued a notification on August 8, inviting applications from auto drivers to issue 10,000 permits in the first phase, and said 35,0000 more autos would get permits in the next phase.

The bench of justices has decided to hear the plea on October 17. A group of autorickshaw unions, including Bharatiya Tipahiya Chalak Sangh, alleged that the decision of the government is “violative of autorickshaw drivers’ fundamental right to earn livelihood”. They alleged the decision to issue permits in the phased manner would encourage the auto-finance-mafias who run the racket in connivance with transport officials.

“The process adopted for the issuance of permits is violative of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules. The process is prone to manipulation and is already causing black marketing of permits in violation of the Supreme Court's December 16, 1997 order,” the petition said.

“Respondents no 2 and 3 (auto companies) are misusing the process to drive autorickshaw drivers into the arms of auto-finance-mafia, who, in turn, are using the opportunity to sell vehicles at a hefty premium. This is adversely impacting the livelihood of autorickshaw drivers,” it added.

While hearing a PIL in December 1997, the Supreme Court had put a cap of 55,000 auto permits to be issued by the government for the city roads but in 2011 the apex court had modified its earlier order and increased the number to one lakh.

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