The Bombay high court has upheld the government's policy that only auto drivers with the minimum qualification of having cleared their standard 8 exams will be eligible for a permit in Thane. The court rejected a petition filed by two auto drivers challenging the policy on grounds that it would deprive illiterate drivers of the means of earning a livelihood.
Govind Tilve and Bhaskar Bhog had approached the high court to contest the decision of the State Road Transport Department to have educational qualifications for permits. Their petition stated that most drivers were illiterate and belonged to the unorganised sector. They had also sought for the lottery system used for distributing permits to be scrapped.
However, the RTO filed an affidavit through advocate Molina Thakhur stating that while preference was given to candidates who had passed their SSC exams, then would also consider those who had passed the 8th standard. Arrangements had been made for cyber café owners to help candidates fill the online applications. The affidavit also stated that online applications eliminated the need for middlemen and the curtailed the possibility of fraud.
"We received 1.50 lakh applications for the lottery. This shows that there was an equal demand for online applications which offers convenience and transparency," said advocate Thakur.