With the Delhi High Court deciding to revisit the ban on cycle rickshaws on Delhi’s arterial roads and also in Chandni Chowk, lakhs of rickshaw pullers deprived of livelihood can hope for some relief.
A special three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah constituted for the purpose on Friday began a review of the earlier orders of the court and the policy framed by the MCD.
NGO Manushi Sangathan working for the cause of poor migrants, who constitute a major chunk of the rickshaw pullers in the capital, had challenged the ban order. The case had earlier been taken up by a two-judge bench headed by Justice Shah. But Chief Justice Shah, who prima-facie did not agree with the policy, decided on February 19 that the issue needed to be dealt by a larger bench.
Terming MCD's policy of restricting the number of rickshaw on grounds of curbing congestion on roads as “unrealistic”, Justice Shah had asked MCD: “Why are you so enthusiastic in banning cycle rickshaws? Why don't you issue guidelines
limiting the number of cars a person can have in the city?”
The court has now asked MCD lawyer Madhu Tewatia to explain by April 28, the rationale of ceiling 99,000 licences when there were an estimated six lakh cycle rickshaws in the city.
The judges also reminded the MCD about a letter written by the then PM Vajpayee in 2001 to the Delhi Lt Governor questioning the policy saying it violated the fundamental right to livelihood.