Court bats for rickshaw-pullers, raps MCD

Posted on 15th January 2012 in Asian Age

The Delhi high court has pulled up the MCD for “harassment” of cycle-rickshaw-pullers by imposing hefty fines on them and impounding their vehicles in violation of court orders.

Asking the civic agency not to “overstep” its “limits”, a special bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and S. Muralidhar on Friday asked the MCD to ensure that instructions given by senior officials to their juniors, on how to deal with rickshaw-pullers who break the law, are made public and a grievance redressal authority be set up for rickshaw-pullers in each zone .
The bench was hearing a petition by NGO Manushi Sangathan which alleged that the bylaws are regularly flouted by MCD officials. “While rickshaw-pullers cannot be fined in excess of `50, hefty fines are imposed on them. Their vehicles are also impounded for not being licenced, in violation of earlier court orders,” the counsel for the NGO said.
As the affidavit submitted by the MCD mentioned large sums of money as fines imposed on rickshaw-pullers, the bench rebuked the agency for “harassing poor rickshaw-pullers”. Pointing out to a particular amount of fine imposed as stated in the affidavit, the bench said, “The figure mentioned here says `22,225 was received from 20 commuter rickshaws as fine. Why charge poor rickshaw-pullers such huge amount,” the bench said.
As the NGO said that sometimes receipts for fines are not issued, the bench remarked, “Who are these people who have the authority to fine rickshaw-pullers for violating laws? Nothing of this seems to be coming to the MCD coffers. It must be being pocketed by officers.”
The court then directed the agency to ensure that the names and designations of officials empowered to issue challans and other levies are disclosed on its website and given publicity.
When told that the registration and licencing of cycle rickshaws has to be done every year, the bench said, “Do we get our cars registered every year? Registration has to be done only once. And why should they (rickshaw-pullers) have to get licences renewed every year? Licencing should be made a once in a three or four year affair.


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