The Mumbai Taximen Sangathan has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay high court (HC) seeking the implementation of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1972, and a notification to that effect by the central government.
According to the petition filed by the association and two law students, taxi and auto drivers are being cheated by the moneylenders and credit co-operative societies due to the non-implementation of the act.
With the transport commissioner and regional transport authorities failing to check the hire-purchase agreement and money lending licences, the moneylenders and credit co-operative societies are running a taxi and auto permit mafia in the city, states the petition.
Hire purchase is a type of installment credit under which the hire purchaser, called the hirer, agrees to take the goods on hire at a stated rental, which is inclusive of the repayment of principal as well as interest, with an option to purchase. Under this transaction, the hire purchaser acquires the property (goods) immediately on signing the agreement, but the ownership or title of the same is transferred only when the last installment is paid.
The Sangathan points out that the moneylenders always keep the copy of the original registration book of the vehicle with them, along with the duly signed RTO Forms.
The lenders also snatch the vehicle forcibly from the loan borrower and hand it over to other taximen on rent, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, adds the petition.
The petition further claimed that black money amounting to more than Rs2,500 crore is involved in the taxi and auto rickshaw permit system, which is being ignored by the government.
The petitioners stated that it is to regulate these discrepancies that a central government notification to that effect is necessary.
The petitioners have urged the court to direct the union government to issue the notification and to declare all the hire-purchase agreements until now as null and void.