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Court’s seal on rickshaw fadeout
The hand-pulled rickshaw: Way to go

Justice S. Pal of Calcutta High Court on Monday put a seal of approval on the Calcutta Hackney Carriage (Amendment) Act and empowered the state government to implement its decision of removing hand-pulled rickshaws from the city on humanitarian grounds.

The court had earlier passed an order restraining the government from implementing the piece of legislation. The order was passed on a plea by some rickshaw-owners, alleging that the civic authorities were not renewing their licences with the intention of phasing out the vehicle. On December 15, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had announced that rickshaws would be phased out from the city within two months on humanitarian grounds. Following an amendment to the Calcutta Hackney Carriage Act, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation had issued a notification on December 27 last year, refusing to renew licences of hand-pulled rickshaws.

The government had then introduced the Calcutta Hackney Carriage (Amendment) Bill in the Assembly. Challenging the validity of the civic notification, a rickshaw-owners’ association had moved a petition in the high court.

The association’s counsel had claimed that until the governor okays the act, the state had no authority to implement it. The junior standing counsel for the state countered by stating that in some cases, the government had the authority to implement an act after it was passed in the Assembly.

“The government will train the rickshaw-pullers to drive autorickshaws,” said the junior standing counsel.

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