Mumbai, March 2: On Wednesday, the High Court in a judgement ruled that speaking Marathi language is not compulsory for auto-permit. Also it directed the State to set up a grievance redressal mechanism for auto-rickshaw passengers to complain against drivers within three months.
Earlier in 2016 September the State government ordered that in order to get auto-rickshaw permit the applicant must know Marathi language. A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhu-Desai on hearing a petition filed by the Bhiwandi City Rickshaw-Taxi Chalak Malak Sangathan along with other auto and taxi unions. The bench said that the permit holders do not usually drive the auto-rickshaws and therefore a language should not be imposed on them. The State said it only sought for the driver to know basic the Marathi language.
The Court said that the prima facie conditions mentioned in the circular cannot be applied while issuing permits. The HC also said that the State government cannot introduce such conditions in a circular, and said a permit application cannot be disqualified if he does not know Marathi. The bench also said that the government has the power to make rules, but it cannot introduce them through a circular.
The court had asked the government to set up a grievances redressal mechanism in two months along with a WhatsApp contact number and an e-mail contact. The matter is adjourned till May 3, when the State government will file a reply on steps taken to ensure safety of passengers. Although the rule exempted those who already had valid permits.