Around 100 autorickshaw drivers stand to lose their licences if they fail to prove that they were forced to join the nationwide strike called by trade unions on Tuesday without intimation.
The minimum punishment would be temporary suspension of licence and/or a fine of Rs 1,000.
The state Transport department has issued show-cause notices to these 100 auto drivers and the number is expected to rise as the department has asked Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) to take action against errant drivers.
The RTOs are handing over show-cause notices to drivers when they come to renew their fitness certificates or licences.
“We have started sending show-cause notices to autorickshaw drivers and permit holders who purposely didn’t run their vehicles and inconvenienced people,” said Dilip Jadhav, state Transport Commissioner.
Jadhav in his recent interview to Hindustan Times had told that necessary action would be taken against the autorickshaw drivers under the law.
These show-cause notices have been issued under Section 86 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, based on information received from RTO officers, complaints on their helpline and offences registered at various police stations.
The drivers need to prove that they were forced not to ply their autorickshaws and give justified explanations for joining a nationwide strike meant for trade unions.
“It is compulsory for any union to give prior intimation to the state government if they decide to go on strike,” an RTO official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media.
“However, there was no such communication from the autorickshaw union on September 7,” he added .
However, the union feels the state Transport department is wrong in targeting individual drivers.
“The Transport department never promised these drivers that their vehicles would be protected against any violence. So, fearing damage to their autorickshaws, several drivers preferred parking them,” said a senior member of the union, requesting anonymity.
Transport department officials said the drivers should have at least run their autos from railway stations to important junctions.
“I will have to check the number of show-cause notices issued by the Transport department,” said Thampi Kurien, general secretary, Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Union.