HC stays ban on advertisements on auto-rickshaws

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday stayed a government order prohibiting auto-rickshaws from displaying advertisements and posters.

A division bench of Justice P.K. Bhasin and Justice V.P. Vaish also issued notice to the transport department of Delhi and sought a response by July 8.

It blocked any coercive action against the auto-rickshaw drivers.

Appearing for the auto drivers, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the “government’s action was discriminatory” and was targeted at AAP whose posters are displayed by hundreds of auto-rickshaws.

The court’s direction came while hearing a plea filed by a group of auto drivers against the government’s June 6 order. The bench said: “The operation of the impugned order be kept in abeyance.”

The Delhi government has initiated a move to prosecute auto-rickshaw owners or drivers under the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules for displaying advertisements on their vehicles.

In their plea, the drivers said: “The said rule is ultra vires the enabling Act which empowers the respondent (government) to frame rules to regulate (not even ‘restrict’) but not to prohibit the advertisements on auto-rickshaws.”

The Delhi government had announced June 6 that no advertisement can be displayed on public service vehicles such as auto-rickshaws, taxis and buses without permission from the State Transport Authority.

Violators were threatened with action from June 15.

The auto drivers argued that prohibition on advertisements on auto-rickshaws was discriminatory as radio taxis were permitted to carry advertisements.

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