New Delhi, 8 July
The Delhi High Court today asked Delhi government whether it has any policy or guideline for putting advertisements and posters on autorickshaws in the Capital.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gaurav Banerjee, appearing for Delhi government, to seek instructions from the transport department and inform it by next date of hearing on a group of auto drivers’ plea against the government’s 6 June order prohibiting them from putting advertisements and posters on their autos.
In their plea, the autorickshaw drivers said the government’s action is discriminatory against poor auto drivers and is also targeted at Aam Aadmi Party whose posters were put up by thousands of auto drivers.
The bench also asked Prashant Bhushan, the counsel for the petitioners, to file an affidavit in two days giving more detail in their plea and posted the matter for 15 July.
Mr Bhushan submitted before the court that radio taxis in Delhi have been carrying advertisements on them but no action has been taken against them. However, the ASG countered the petitioners’ arguments, saying there is a policy for taxi drivers and if they violate it, the government can cancel their permits.
"The said rule is ultra vires the enabling Act which empowers the respondent (government) to frame rules to regulate (not even ‘restrict’) but not to prohibit the advertisements on autorickshaws," said the auto drivers.
Delhi government has initiated a move to prosecute autorickshaw owners or drivers under Rule 71(2) of Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules for displaying advertisements on their vehicles.