Rule review for rickshaw ban

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By OUR LEGAL REPORTER
  • Published 31.10.08
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The new amendment will remove the legal loopholes that were holding up the ban on hand-pulled rickshaws. A Telegraph picture

The state government is planning to introduce a second amendment to the Calcutta Hackney Carriage (Amendment) Bill for effective implementation of the ban on hand-pulled rickshaws.

The proposed amendment will differentiate hand-pulled rickshaws from other hackney carriages, such as ordinary rickshaws, van-rickshaws and hand-pulled carts.

The bill seeking ban on hand-pulled rickshaws was passed in the Assembly in December 2006 and is still awaiting the governor’s consent.

“If it is enacted in its present form, all hackney carriages in the city will have to be declared illegal,” said state counsel Alok Ghosh.

“The loopholes in the bill came to our notice following a petition filed in the high court by the Hand-pulled Rickshaw Owners’ Association. The petition challenged the legality of the bill on the ground that it was discriminatory. It also questioned a civic notice based on the bill that stated that licences for hand-pulled rickshaws would no longer be issued,” said an official of the state law department.

Ghosh had suggested a modification to the bill for smooth implementation of the ban. “The law department asked me to pray for time so the government could decide on the proposed amendment. The court agreed to adjourn the hearing,” Ghosh said.

The state government had decided to phase out hand-drawn rickshaws on humanitarian ground and sought to ban them by amending the Calcutta Hackney Carriage Bill.