Auto permit process of Delhi govt in 2014-15 was rigged, says HC
The Delhi high court on Wednesday said it cannot uphold the permits given under the year 2014-15 process initiated for plying auto rickshaws in the city, as the “entire process was vitiated” and appeared to be “rigged”.
Justice Manmohan came to the prima facie finding that the earlier process was vitiated after going through a CBI status report which said that of the 251 applications received on first two days, only four were processed and rest had gone missing.
“This court cannot uphold the allocation carried out in view of the CBI report. Entire process was vitiated. Documents were missing. Whole thing seems to be rigged,” the court said.
The court, however, was in favour of protecting the 324 individuals who had purchased autos after getting the letters of intent, to the extent of their financial liability.
It asked the Delhi government whether it was willing to take over such persons’ financial burden by taking over their autos and listed the matter for further hearing on December 19.
The court also sought the response of the petitioner auto drivers on the Delhi government’s plea that it be allowed to start a fresh process which would be carried out online in order to ensure transparency.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner auto drivers, said he has no objection to a fresh process as long as the interests, including financial liability, of the petitioners was protected.
The court was hearing several pleas moved on behalf of around 40 auto drivers, through advocates Rishi Manchanda and Sushil Kumar, challenging cancellation of the allocation of permits to them to ply auto rickshaws in the city.
The government had in 2014 advertised its proposal to issue 10,000 permits to ply autos and applications were received from January 12, 2015 onwards.
Thereafter, the government had issued 932 letters of intent which were later scrapped on receiving complaints of irregularities in the allotment process.
The government, in its application, has said it had found that letters of intent were not issued in chronological order, as was specified in the advertisement.