You are on page 1of 7


A brief summarization of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988:

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is a legislation of prime importance to the people as well as
the government, because the Motor vehicle Act covers in its contents the control, working
and efficient functioning of all the vehicles in India both for the purposes of personal and
commercial use. The Motor Vehicles Act, also governs the efficient functioning of the
transport system in our country, it includes in the definition of Public Service Vehicles all the
modes of transport used by the public for better access to facilities.

The motor vehicle act governs the smooth running, accidents and compensations under its
ambit, and with the recent amendment it now even has under its purview the control of E-
Rickshaw and E-Kart.

Section 9, Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

In the principal Act, in section 9, after sub-section (9), the following sub-section shall be
inserted, namely: (10) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, the driving
licence to drive e-cart or e-rickshaw shall be issued in such manner and subject to such
conditions, as may be prescribed.. 1

The Legislature after closely looking at the pervasive factual scenario with respect to the,
non- availability of any provision pertaining to E-Rickshaw & E- Karts , they enacted the
Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2015 and added the requisite provisions pertaining to the
definition, use and extent of usage of E-Rickshaw.

Interpertors Duty:
It is a well established rule in the interpretation that the interpretor must not restrict the
meaning of the Statute only to the grammatical meaning of the Statute. The intention should
be that the meaning covers the whole scope of the word as envisaged by the legislator.
Under the present factual matrix, the Motor vehicles Act covered vehicles used for public
transport, and it its definition it covered rickshaws, auto-rickshaw, buses etc. hence the

Section 9(10), Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
developing jurisprudence also included within its scope the term e-rickshaw because, E-
Rickshaw & E-Karts, fulfilled the same purpose of delivering public transport as done by
other means of transport. The indian jurisprudence has correctly fulfilled the legislators duty
in making the scope of the Motor vehicle act as wide as possible and including within its
difinition the concept of E-Rickshaw.

Legal Mischief in the present factual matrix:

Legal Mischief is a situation in which the Parliament has not yet acted in its fullest capacity
in enacting a provision covering all the social conditions, which constitute a defect. It is a
defect in law where the parliament has not acted in its fullest extent.
The Motor Vehicles Act was silent about the functioning of E-Rickshaws, the accidents
caused and the discrepancies in issuing of license to the drivers. This constituted a Legal
Mischief. Thus it became a duty of the legislature to rectify the errors existing in the Motor
Vehicles Act, hence they decided to amend the Act itself and insert within its scope the
meaning and definition of E-rickshaw and also the rules governing the functioning of the E-
Rickshaw and the E-Kart.

Legislative Intention behind the insertion of Section 9:

Section 9 of the Motor Vehicles Act is an aftermath of the considerate calculation by the
Government of Delhi in relation to the haphazard caused by the new invention of e-rickshaw
and e-karts.2
Removing legal hurdles in the way of running of electric rickshaws as last mile connectivity,
the Transport Ministry has exempted such vehicles from requiring permits for plying on
The rule defines e-rickshaw as a special purpose battery operated vehicle 'having three
wheels and intended to provide last mile connectivity for transport of passengers for hire or

India, P. (2017). Delhi: E-Rickshaws Are Illegal, Ban to Continue, Says High Court. [online]
Available at:
The wordings as envisaged by the legislature for Section 9 , are that the driving lisence to E-
Rickshaw shall be issued in the ordinary course of business as is issues to rest of the vehicles
for public transport. The intention of the legislature can be boiled down to their willingness to
include E-Rickshaw under the class of vehicles for public transport.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified rules under the Motor Vehicle
Act, 1988, to bring the e-Rickshaws and e-Carts within the legal framework ensuring tests for
approval of prototype for safety standards before registration of the vehicles.

Status of E-Rickshaw before amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act:

On the public introduction of the E-Rickshaw, the masses appealed to it, but it caused a great
deal of debate for the intelligentsia and pandemonium for the legislature, as the legislations
were silent about the existence of E-Rickshaw.4
Certain problems arose in context to E-Rickshaws:
Any accident caused by the E-rickshaw created haphazard, as it was not mentioned
under any classification of vehicles.
The vehicles operate on Battery and the Motor Vehicles Act was silent about vehicles
driven on battery.

Existing Ambiguity in the Motor Vehicles Act prior to amendment:

The previous motor vehicles Act, was silent about the existence of e-rickshaw and the drivers
and their qualifications. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, no person could be granted a
Driving License to drive a transport vehicle, unless he had held the Driving License for a
period of at least one year. As most of the e-rickshaws and e-carts drivers did not have any
license, the existing provision debarred them from operating e-Rickshaw / e-Cart for the next
one year.

The Motor Vehicles Act, did not cover in its purview the scope and the legal status of E-
Rickshaws and E-Karts at large.5 There was no provision which stated about them as they are

SCC Blog. (2015). Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2015. [online] Available at:
5 (2014). Amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act for relaxation in norms for e-Rickshaws and e-
Carts . [online] Available at:
a new invention and have recently come into the market, hence the legislature was silent
about the scope and functioning of E-Rickshaw.

Rectification of the existing ambiguity the the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988:

In order to remove this difficulty, and facilitate plying of e-rickshaw and e-carts, the Ministry
of Road Transport and Highways amended Section 7(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,
which gives relaxation to e-rickshaw and e-cart drivers only.6 In addition, the definition of e-
rickshaw and e-cart has been included under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. They amended
Section 9(10), which governs the restrictions and the grant in respect to the issual of lisence
to the drivers of public service vehicles and added the definition of E-Rikshaw as another
source of providing service to the public.

Relation of the amendment of Section 9 to rest of the amendments opined by the

The authors of the project have concerned themselves with the 3 amendments made to the
Motor Vehicles Act, and now the project deals with the relation of all the amendments:

Relation with Section 77, Motor vehicles Amendment Bill, 2015:

Section 7 has been updated after the amendment in 2015 and it now includes in its language,
that the restrictions mentioned under Section 7 would not apply to an E-Rickshaw or an E-
Kart. The restrictions dealt with the issue of license to the drivers of transport vehicles. The
restriction stated about the possession of a driving license for a period of one and two years
before driving a transport vehicle.
But the intention of the legislature developed after considering the related issues to the E-
Rickshaw and they inserted Section 7 so that the drivers of an E-rickshaw do not have to face
difficulty in driving the vehicle without prior experience of the prescribed time.
On developing a nexus between Section 7 & 9 they deal with the Grant of license and the
restrictions imposed in such a grant. E-Rickshaws are exempted from the liability imposed on
the normal vehicles and drivers.

6 (2014). Amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act for relaxation in norms for e-Rickshaws and e-
Carts . [online] Available at:
Section 7, Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Relation with Section 27, Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2015:
Section 278 states about the applicability of the laws and legislations made by the legislature
over e-rickshaws and e-karts. It shows that all the provisions, restrictions and regulations
made by the central government shall cover in its meaning and applicability, E-rickshaws and

Developing Jurisprudence behind the interpretation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988:
The controversy pertaining to the introduction of E-Rickshaw began in Delhi when a petition
arose before the Courts in Delhi. Initially the Courts were reluctant in accepting the E-
Rickshaws into the Motor Vehicles Act and hence were declared for some time as illegal and
non-operational on the roads of Delhi.9
Initial Judicial Standing on the Status of E-Rickshaw:
A policy decision of the Government of NCT of Delhi was delivered by the Court, which
apparently envisaged e-rickshaws not to be treated as motor vehicles under The Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988. The Court thus in the initial phases of the developing jurisprudence
termed E-Rickshaw as Illegal and imposed a ban on the operation of the same.
The bench said it cannot issue a writ of mandamus to legalise what is illegal as per the
existing law. The bench also said "we cannot anticipate legislative changes" and left it to the
Central government to frame rules for plying of e-rickshaws.
Change in the Stand of Judiciary and the current Status of E-Rickshaw:
Soon a petition was sent before the Supreme Court and it asked the Parliament about the
Legal Status of E-Rickshaws. Upon close consideration the Parliament and the Judiciary
came to a conclusion that E-Rickshaws constitute a part of the public transport system and
can become an integral part of the society.
The Delhi High Court in the decision of, Shanawaz Khan vs Municipal Corporation of
Delhi, stated that E-Rickshaws come under the purview of the Motor Vehicles Act. The
Supreme Court even asked the Parliament to amend the existing legislation and add within its
meaning, the definition of E-Rickshaw and E-Kart.

Section 27, Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Reporter, B. (2017). Govt to amend Motor Vehicles Act to allow e-rickshaws. [online] Business- Available at:
The Court even confirmed the position of E-Rickshaw regarding the status and applicability
of laws over E-Rickshaw, the position is clear. E-rickshaws are motor vehicles as defined
under section 2(28)10 of the said Act. In fact, they are covered by the expressions public
service vehicle and transport vehicle as contemplated under sections 2(35)11 and 2(47)12,
respectively, of the said Act. These facts are admitted by all the parties. Once this is so, all
the provisions of the said Act applicable to motor vehicles and public service vehicles
would be applicable in respect of e-rickshaws also.13

Conclusive analysis of the introduction of Section 9(10), Motor Vehicles Act, 1988:

As the analysis of Section 9, comes to a conclusion the author would like to express his
comments on the Status of Section 9 after the inclusion of the amendment. The legal maxim
casus male inclusus The intention of the Parliament is to remedy a mischief, is applicable
in the insertion of the said amendment, as the legislature has acted in its true capacity in
interpreting what the growing social need was and after careful analysis included the
provisions relating to the governance of E-Rickshaw and E-Kart.

The Courts were initially reluctant in giving a conclusive definition to the usage of E-
Rickshaw but with the development of acceptance among people the court had to consider
and change its interpretation, covering within its ambit the meaning and regulations on E-

Section 9, of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2015 added a sub-provision in which it
included in the operation and issue of driving license to the drivers of E-Rickshaw. The
developing jurisprudence and intention behind the passage of the said legislation showed that
the pervasive use of E-rickshaw made it mandatory for the judges to include them in the
definition of public service vehicles.

The recent amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act, now includes all the public service
vehicles and within such definition it also includes E-rickshaw under its governance and
imposition of future legislations. The Legislature and the Courts countered a dilemma under

Section 2(28), Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Section 2(35), Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Section 2(47), Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Shanawaz Khan vs Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Ors., W.P. (C) 5764/2013.
which they were in, in giving a definition to the use of E-Rickshaw, but have eventually come
to a conclusion that E-Rickshaw now come under the control and governance of the
legislations enacted by the Central and the State Government.

Thus to conclude, I would say that amendment of Sections 9, 7 and 27 of the Motor Vehicles
Act, 198814 was an amendment of prime importance. The author has thus given a critique and
a conclusive analysis about the development of the jurisprudence behind the passage of the
Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2015.

The amendment was introduced in 2015, and added the 3 provision, Section 7, Section 9 and Section 27.