Delhi HC rejects plea against mandatory uniform for auto drivers

- July 4, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The high court's order came on a petition by Chaalak Shakti, a drivers' union, which has challenged mandatory uniform for auto rickshaw and taxi drivers and alleged that such labelling was in violation of the Constitution

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the requirement of mandatory uniforms for auto rickshaw and taxi drivers in the city.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, rejected the petition and criticised it as a gross misuse of a public interest litigation (PIL).

The petition was filed by Chaalak Shakti, a drivers’ union, which argued against the compulsory uniform policy for auto rickshaw and taxi drivers, claiming that it violated the Constitution. The petitioner’s counsel contended that prescribing a uniform infringed upon the drivers’ freedom of expression and served as a symbol of their social status.

The counsel representing the Delhi government defended the need for discipline and uniformity in relation to driver uniforms. The high court had previously asked the government’s counsel to clarify whether khaki or grey-colored uniforms were mandated for auto drivers in the national capital.

The petitioner alleged that hefty fines of up to Rs 20,000 were being imposed on drivers for not wearing uniforms, despite the lack of clarity and ambiguity in the relevant laws.

The petitioner argued that Rule 7 of the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993 prescribed khaki uniforms, while the permit conditions set by the state authorities mandated grey uniforms.

Furthermore, the petitioner highlighted the absence of a clear definition of the uniform itself, including the type of clothing and specifications of fabrics, trims, and accessories.

The plea also emphasised that many major cities worldwide, such as London, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Dubai, did not impose any uniform requirements on taxi drivers. The petitioner asserted that the vagueness and ambiguity surrounding the uniform policy caused significant distress and harm.

Ultimately, the Delhi High Court upheld the mandatory uniform policy, rejecting the petition and reiterating its view that the case was an inappropriate use of a PIL. (With inputs from PTI)