A uniform is stipulated for auto and taxi driver. However, there are multiple issues with this requirement. The laws are contradictory and void for vagueness. Reply to an RTI application on this count was laughable, to say the list.

1. Contradictory laws

Permit conditions for these vehicles framed by the transport authorities stipulate that colour of the uniform shall be GREY, whereas Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, 1993 passed by the legislature prescribed that the uniform shall be KHAKHI.

2. Shade not specified

Regardless of the colour, the required shade has neither been pinpointed for grey nor for khaki. Both these colours come in dozens of prominent shades. Anything containing 1% black and 99% white, or vice a versa, is grey. Will that be acceptable to the authorities, even though it is in full compliance of the law?

3. "Uniform" not defined

It is not mentioned anywhere in the rules or the permit conditions what constitute a “Uniform” – whether it is a safari-suit, or a pant-shirt, or dhoti-kurta or an underwear and a banian which is comfortable for summers.

4. Trimmings and accessories not specified

In response to an RTI application, the transport authority has stated that no information exists as to the trimming and accessories that go with the uniform such as shoes, belt, epaulette etc. One will not find the same authority wanting though when it comes to issuing traffic tickets.

5. Freedom of expression through clothes suppressed

Clothes are an extension of one’s personality. One chooses them to express his individuality and exercise his freedom of expression. Straightjacketing a person in a uniform for almost 10-12 hours a day, almost 7 days of week amounts to suppression of one’s freedom. Unlike the police, army or doctors in government hospitals, drivers are not government employees that they can be bound to such a stipulation. No purpose is served by making drivers wear uniform.

Case in Delhi High Court

In this context, Chaalak Shakti has filed a writ petition in Delhi high court questioning the law regarding uniforms. It is titled as WP(C) 6811/2021, Chaalak Shakti & Ors. Vs. GNCTD & Ors. We have told the court that while life-threatening offences like speeding carry meagre penalty, the fine for not wearing a uniform ranges from ₹10,000 to ₹20,000.

In its reply, the government has admitted to this contradiction and has promised to amend the DMVR. The matter is likely to be finally heard and decided on 13-07-2022.