On May 29, 2020, the High Court entertained a PIL concerned with the delay in help package announced for Auto Rickshaw drivers. Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad heard the matter.
Facts of the Case
The prayer sought the issuance of directions to the Department of Transport. The Chief Minister of Delhi announced a one-time relief help package of Rs. 5,000/- to auto-rickshaw, e-rickshaw and Gramin Sewa vehicle drivers on 2nd April. The CM announced this as a compensation for the loss that they would suffer because of the lockdown. After a reasonable time, on April 25, the petitioner had made a representation to the respondent. He stated that the financial assistance as promised had not been received by PSV badge holders. Additionally, he stated that they are facing great hardship being unable to ply their vehicles. When he received no effective reply, he filed the present petition.
Contentions of the Petitioner
The learned counsel submitted that repeated representations were made to the Respondent. But, they have not elicited any effective response. The counsel also contested that the Transport Department is discriminating between PSV badge holders with chip and without chip. The Respondent stated that the Transport Department is giving financial assistance of Rs. 5,000/- to every PSV badge holder in Delhi who has a valid Driving License on or after 01.02.2020. They are providing the assistance package irrespective of whether the said badge has a chip or not.
The Department stated that they have made software for applicants with chip-based badges and non-chip-based badges. The Respondent also submitted that the 2010 data was non-chip based. This data was unavailable in the software of the Department. The IT Wing of the Transport Department had to match the data through a separate process. The Respondent stated that all the eligible applicants have been identified. The Transport Department has identified 11780 applicants holding non-chip PSV badges. Out of the said 11780 eligible applicants, the Department has transferred a sum of Rs. 5,000/- to 4835 persons.
Observation of the Court
The Court inquired the counsel for the Respondent on time required to clear the list of the remaining persons. The learned counsel stated that the Court may grant the Department a period of 15 days to deposit the amount of Rs. 5,000 to the remaining applicants. The Court observed that the CM announced the scheme in early April 2020 and now, it is already too late. The bench opined that the department has already taken enough time to release the assistance package. The Court stated that there was enough time for the Department to release the funds to the eligible applicants.
The Court dismissed the petition by granting 10 days’ time to the Transport Department. The Court directed them to clear the balance list by depositing a sum of Rs. 5,000/- to the eligible non-chip PSV badge holders within this time.
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