The Delhi high court on Thursday ordered a temporary ban on electric rickshaws, which were touted as a remedy to the Capital’s perpetual traffic, pollution and fuel problems at their 2010 launch, but are now widely considered a safety risk.
A bench of justices BD Ahmed and S Mridul observed that “unregulated plying of vehicles on Delhi roads is prima facie a hazard to other traffic on road as well as the citizens”.
The court asked for new rules for the e-rickshaws and said it would take up the case again on August 14.
On Wednesday, a three-year-old boy had fallen into a pot of boiling sugar syrup after one of these three-wheelers struck his mother and threw her off-balance outside a sweets shop in east Delhi. The infant died, while his mother suffered burn injuries in trying to rescue him. The court also took judicial notice of this incident.
Commonly known as e-rickshaws, these vehicles gained popularity in the city as a ‘last mile connectivity’ option for commuters. According to an estimate, there are more than two lakh e-rickshaws in Delhi.
Watch: Plying of e-rickshaws illegal, stop it as of now says Delhi HC
Their number proliferated after Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari announced at a rally on June 17 that they would be brought out of the ambit of the motor vehicles act.
The ban would render at least five lakh people jobless, who drove these rickshaws in shifts.
Delhi traffic police had on Wednesday informed the court that the battery-powered vehicles had been involved in more than 36 accidents this year alone. Two passengers had lost their lives.
Till June 2014, a total of 137 cases had been registered against e-rickshaw drivers for rash and negligent driving.
“We have received a copy of the order from the high court and we will start impounding these vehicles. The entire process might take time but we will ensure that there is no delay on our part,” said Anil Shukla, joint commissioner of police (traffic).