You cannot condemn the poor, HC tells cops | delhi | Hindustan Times
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You cannot condemn the poor, HC tells cops

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday criticised the police for "condemning" and "humiliating" the poor while opposing lifting of the ban on cycle rickshaws.

delhi Updated: Dec 09, 2009 00:58 IST
Harish V Nair

"With You For You Always" is the Delhi Police's motto.

But the Delhi High Court wonders if 'You' in it referred to only the rich and not the poor.

The court on Tuesday criticised the police for "condemning" and "humiliating" the poor while opposing lifting of the ban on cycle rickshaws.

"Your affidavit is shocking. How can you be so insensitive to the poor and call them dirty? Do you mean to say poor have no right to live in a world-class city?" a special three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah asked the lawyer representing the Delhi Police.

"How could you say that allowing rickshaws to ply would convert the world-class city of Delhi into a mofussil town? The affidavit shows your mindset against the poor." said the court.

The Bench was referring to the Traffic Police's affidavit that said: "He (the rickshaw puller) lives on the pavement, rests in his rickshaw, eats and washes on the pavements which not only causes strain on the civic resources but also encourages them in developing unauthorized jhuggies giving rise to social problems in the city".

It also said: "Efforts are being made to make Delhi into a world-class city. Allowing cycle rickshaw to ply on the arterial roads would certainly not contribute to this vision. Instead it will make Delhi like any other moffusil town".

The police affidavit came in response to views sought by the court which is "critically re-examining" the existing Cycle Rickshaw Bye-laws on a PIL filed by NGO Manushi Sangathan, representing the poor migrants seeking lifting of the ban.

"Do you mean to say those who have no means to earn their livelihood should be shunted out? You cannot condemn the poor like this and at least such statement should not have come from a public authority. It is so easy to crush the rights of the poor in this city," said a fuming Justice Shah asking the police to withdraw the affidavit. Majority of the rickshaw pullers in Delhi comprise poor migrants.