Auto driver challenges traffic fine for putting up ‘I love Kejriwal’ poster
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the response of the Delhi government, city police and the Election Commission on a plea by an auto rickshaw driver who had challenged the challan and subsequent fine of ₹10,000 levied on him for putting “I love Kejriwal” & “Sirf Kejriwal” posters on his vehicle.
Justice Navin Chawla issued notices to the concerned authorities and posted the matter for March 3 on a plea by auto driver Rajesh who was fined on January 15 for putting the poster on his vehicle, while he was on his way from Kalindi Kunj to Apollo Hospital.
The counsels for the government and the city police sought time to examine the matter. Appearing for the election commission, its counsel said that the auto driver was fined because the model code of conduct (MCC) has been implemented.
However, appearing for the auto driver, his counsel said that it was not a political advertisement and even if it was, it would not be prohibited as it was displayed at the petitioner’s expense and not by the concerned political party.
He also said that political advertisements were permitted on the rear, right and left sides of public service vehicles, including autos, under guidelines regarding this issued by the Delhi government in 2018.
Reacting on the issue, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “BJP is using its police to challan the poor auto drivers. Their only mistake is that they have written ‘I love Kejriwal’. Such ill-will against the poor is not correct. I would appeal the BJP to stop taking revenge on the poor”.
The plea said that he had put the posters and banners sometime in September and October last year with his own will and without allurement from any political party. However, just a day after the model code of conduct was implemented in the city due to the upcoming Assembly elections, he was fined.
He contended that despite pleading that this was without force and is not advertisement for the party, the traffic police fined him following which he moved to the court.
The plea also said that the challan has been issued “illegally” and has further bound him down in exercising his free right to speech and expression in future as well, without giving any basis or justification.
The matter would be now heard on March 3.