The Bombay high court set aside on Wednesday a Maharashtra government directive that made knowledge of the Marathi language a pre-condition for all those applying for new auto-rikshaw permits.
The court had on Monday held the order as "prima facie not correct" while hearing a petition filed by the Mira Bhayander Auto Rickshaw Chalak Sangathan challenging a circular issued by the government to RTOs in 2016.
As per the circular from November 1, 2016, permits for new autorickshaws will be given only to those applicants who can speak Marathi. This rule however, is not applicable for those who already have valid permits.
The petitioner argued that imposing this condition while issuing badges to auto-rickshaw drivers was still understandable but while issuing permits did not make sense as in some cases the permit is taken by the owner of the auto-rickshaw who then rents it out to somebody else to drive.
The bench while agreeing to this argument said, "Prima facie this condition cannot be applied while issuing permits. It is not correct."
The government defending its circular said it was only demanding a basic knowledge of Marathi and that the above rule was part of the circular that required all those applying for new auto rickshaw permits to have some knowledge of the local language and to have studied at least up to class VIII.