NEW DELHI 16/DEC/2014: A bill to regularise e-rickshaws and provide for driving licences for battery-operated vehicles was introduced in Lok Sabha today, paving the way for such vehicles to ply in the national capital and other places. The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2014, was introduced in the House by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. E-rickshaws or battery-operated vehicles were banned by the Delhi High Court on safety concerns. Gadkari introduced the bill after protest from Opposition members including Congress who objected to introduction of the legislation after mentioning it in the supplementary list of business. They demanded the government should give time to them to study the legislation. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said this was the fourth time during the ongoing Winter Session that government has brought a bill by mentioning it in the supplementary list of business.
Gadkari, however, pointed out that this was an important bill concerning livelihood of thousands of people and suggested that members should speak on it at the time of its consideration. The bill seeks to remove difficulties in granting licence to drivers of e-rickshaws and e-carts by amending Section 7(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and adding the definition of e-rickshaw and e-cart in the Act. The provision that no person shall be granted a learner\'s licence to drive a commercial vehicle unless he or she has held a driving licence for light motor vehicle for at least one year has been waived. As most of the e-rickshaws and e-carts drivers do not have any licence, the existing provisions debar them from operating e-rickshaw or e-cart for the next one year.
Once the bill is passed, e-rickshaws will be a legal entity and any driver passing the driving test would be granted licence. The government in October had notified the rules for plying of e-rickshaws making driver\'s licence mandatory for operating them and limiting the maximum speed to 25 kmph. The government had notified the Central Motor Vehicles (16th Amendment) Rules, 2014, which paves the way for plying of special purpose battery-operated vehicles. The new rules provide that e-rickshaw will be allowed to carry four passengers and 40 kg luggage while e-carts would transport goods up to 310 kg. The Delhi High Court had on July 31 banned plying of e-rickshaws on the roads of the national capital saying \"prima facie they are hazard to other traffic as well as citizens\".