HC seeks response from Centre, Delhi govt on plea against uniform for auto, taxi drivers



NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Thursday sought response from the Centre and Delhi government on a petition challenging mandatory uniforms for auto rickshaw and taxi drivers.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh also issued notice to Delhi Police on the petition which said that heavy challans of upto Rs 20,000 were being imposed on drivers in the national capital for not wearing uniforms even though the law on the subject was vague and ambiguous.

The petition moved by Chalak Shakti, a drivers’ union, an auto rickshaw driver and a taxi driver alleged that labelling drivers by way of uniform violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution.

The petition said the uniforms restricted their individuality and self-expression as well as amounted to an additional expense which forces a driver to cut corners on keeping himself hygienic and thus posed a health risk to passengers.

It was further argued that there is complete ambiguity on the colour of uniform to be worn by auto drivers on duty as Rule 7 of Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993 prescribes Khaki and the permit conditions by State authorities mandate Grey.

“There is complete disharmony between the NCT and Transport Department. Auto drivers are being heavily challaned”, advocate Paras Jain, appearing for the union and the drivers, told the court which listed the next date for hearing on August 20.

In the petition filed through advocate Mohini Dubey, it is stated that there are dozens of prominent shades of both Khaki and Grey and since no particular shade had been stipulated, the enforcement authorities enjoyed a huge discretion on whom they wanted to prosecute.

The petition also stated that the uniform itself has not been defined so as to mean pant-shirt, safari suit or kurta-pajama and that even specifications of fabrics, trims and accessories are also absent.

“The pain and damage inflicted by the vagueness and ambiguity in respect of the uniform is immense and that most of the well-known metropolitan cities such as London, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, Dubai did not prescribe any uniform for taxi drivers,” the plea said.

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