The Bombay High Court on Saturday dismissed a batch of petitions filed by various rickshaw unions that had challenged the Maharashtra State notification making electronic meters compulsory from April 1 onwards. The court held that the larger interests of the public had to be taken into account when deciding whether the policy ought to be set aside. A division bench of justices PB Majmudar and RD Dhanuka was hearing petitions filed by the Mumbai autorickshawmen’s Union and a manufacturer of mechanical meters challenging the notification. E-meters will be installed in new autorickshaws from March 1 and in existing ones from April.
There are nearly two lakh autorickshaws in Mumbai. In earlier hearings, Union counsel Anil Sakhare had argued that the notification was based on a February 1, 2011 report prepared by a committee of experts and bureaucrats, and a subsequent November 24, 2011 technical committee report. Sakhare had contended that the unions were not allowed to participate in the hearing. He had said that this was done without conducting a proper study or following a set procedure. Also there wasn’t proper infrastructure in Maharashtra.
For the last few days, rickshaw drivers have been making a beeline to local RTOs to get fitness certificates for their mechanical meters. Successfully passing the test would mean avoiding switching over to the e-meters for another year. The implementation of the scheme is set to be carried out in a phased manner, starting from April 1.