Now, an exclusive court to help rickshaw pullers in distress
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Two years after it said that there could be no curb on the number of licences to cycle-rickshaw pullers since it would hamper their right to livelihood, the Delhi High Court has appointed an exclusive official, a retired judge, to lend them a helping hand if they are harassed or their vehicles illegally impounded.
The retired judge will be provided a separate courtroom in the Saket court complex. The rickshaw pullers can go there with their complaints and the judge, designated as an Enquiry Officer (EO), shall get all assistance from MCD, police and other agencies.
"The scope of the enquiry will be to examine the veracity of the complaints made by the Non-Motorised Vehicle (NMV) owner or pliers of harassment and violation of the court's judgment and orders, identify and fix responsibility on the officials concerned of MCD, Delhi Police and any other agencies involved, and to suggest measures to bring about effective enforcement of the court's directions issued from time to time,'' a bench headed by Justice S Ravindra Bhat said.
In the wake of allegations of illegal acts of some MCD officials pertaining to impounding of cycle-rickshaws, court noted that these assumed "seriousness'' and could not be left without an inquiry by a responsible officer.
The court appointed Bharat Bhushan, a retired Additional District Judge as EO, and requested the District Judge-in-charge of the Saket courts to provide him an appropriate space. "The EO shall devise his own procedure and furnish a report within a period of four months from today,'' the bench said.
It also asked the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to help rickshaw-pullers get legal assistance to lodge FIRs. It said that DLSA's trained para-legal volunteers could be contacted through the Samajik Suvidha Kendras, a community-based programme of the Delhi government.
The bench also ordered registration of an FIR against two MCD employees in a case, in which they unauthorisedly confiscated a cycle-rickshaw of a man and dumped it in an illegal yard.
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