The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Auto-cracy: a study in contrast

Autorickshaws on many routes illegally carry more than four passengers


Study finding: 10,000 autos in the city are registered with the Regional Transport Authority

Reality: The number of unregistered autorickshaws is at least five times more


Rule: According to a state government notification, autos can carry four passengers. Carrying more than the stipulated number is an offence

Reality: Autos on most routes carry more than four passengers


Rule: Section 120 (4) of the West Bengal Motor Vehicles Rules states that autos should ply on routes determined by the RTA. Under the MV Act 1988 and Rules 1989, violation of routes specified by the RTA is a punishable offence. Auto fares are supposed to decided by the state and permits can be suspended or cancelled if a driver charges excess fare

Reality: Autos in Calcutta do ply on “fixed” routes but more than the RTA it is the auto unions — most of which are affiliated to the ruling party — call the shots, in deciding the route as well as the fare


Rule: The place for an auto stand has to be officially notified by the district magistrate or the commissioner of police. A place could be earmarked as auto stand within the purview of any municipal corporation. In case private land is being used, the consent of the owner is necessary

Reality: Auto stands spring up anywhere depending on the convenience of auto operators and their unions

Auto chaos on a city road



Under the MV Act and MV Rules

• A driver must behave politely with a passenger. There is provision for cancellation of the permit because of misbehaviour

• Use of abusive language prohibited

• Smoking/consumption of alcohol prohibited

• Section 218 of MV Act prohibits use of mobile phone while driving

• No one to carry things that could cause inconvenience to other passengers

• No song or music system to be played in the vehicle

Reality: Police records say cases of altercations have become common despite auto drivers knowing well that violation of any of the clauses mentioned in the permit can lead to its cancellation or suspension. Police sources say cancellation of permits for “violation or misbehaviour” is a “rarest of rare” incidence. Auto operators apparently use political immunity to play music in their vehicles

Crime & punishment

• Vehicle without registration or blue book, an offence that attracts a penalty of Rs 3,000 and above

• Driving the vehicle beyond speed limit, penalty of Rs 300 on first offence

• Driving dangerously, penalty of Rs 400 on first offence

• Parking vehicle at public place, penalty of Rs 100 on first offence

• Misbehaving with passengers, penalty of Rs 100 on first offence

• Use of radio, earphone or mobile phone while driving; penalty of Rs 100 on first offence

• Using high-decibel horns, penalty of Rs 100 on first offence

Accident compensation

Section 140 of MV Act, 1988:

• In case of death or permanent disability of a person caused by accident of a running vehicle, the person or his/her family could claim compensation from the owner of the vehicle

• In case of death, the family could claim up to Rs 50,000 from the vehicle owner

Section 339 of the West Bengal Motor Vehicles Rules:

One can apply to the “claims tribunal” for compensation-related settlements. The tribunal must settle the matter within 45 days. In case of death or disability, the vehicle owner is bound by law to pay compensation

Compiled by Monalisa Chaudhuri