Mumbai: Maharashtra Government had issued a circular last year stating that an applicant must have pre-knowledge of Marathi to apply for Auto Permit in Maharashtra. Many had favoured and welcomed this circular including some Maharashtrians. A Bench of justices of Bombay High Court has ruled out this circular on Wednesday. The division bench of justices which includes A S Oka and Anuja Prabhudessai passed an order ruling out Maharashtra Government’s captioned circular.
The order was passed on a petition filed by a Mira Bhayander based auto drivers’ Union called Mira Bhayander Auto Rickshaw Chalak Sangathan. The petition filed was against the 2016 circular issued by Maharashtra Government for the applicants of Permit for Auto Rickshaws in Maharashtra. The Circular stated that new permits from November 1, 2016 for auto rickshaws will be issued to only those who could speak Marathi. Against which, The Bench of Justices ruled “If an applicant for Permit does not fulfil the condition of having knowledge of Marathi, then this application cannot be disqualified.”
The court stated that the government can form a rule of this kind but can’t issue a circular. The decision came after the petitioners argued that issuance of ‘badges’ to the auto drivers could be made based on this condition but not for the issuance of the permit. They said that the permit is for the auto rickshaw owners who anyways rent it out to the drivers. The Bench of Justices reacted in favour of this argument and ruled out Maharashtra Government’s circular. The court has also asked Maharastra Government to file an affidavit on compliance of the order by May 3. It has also asked government to form a Passenger Grievance Redressal through WhatsApp number, Email or a number where passengers can complain about the misbehaviour by the drivers. It also asked the petitioning union to file an affidavit about the measures it will take to make its members comply with the rules.