Auto driver fined for pro-Kejriwal message: HC seeks response from AAP, cops, EC

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The First Law Commission was set up in 1834 and submitted the draft Indian Penal Code three years later in 1837 | Representative Photo: iStock

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday (January 28) sought response of the AAP government, police and Election Commission on a plea challenging a ₹10,000 challan issued to an auto driver for displaying ‘I love Kejriwal’ message on his three-wheeler.

Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Delhi government, police and EC seeking their stand on the plea by the auto driver who claimed the action stemmed from “political malice”.

The lawyer for the Delhi government and police told the court that time was required to examine why the challan for ₹10,000 was issued and said a status report would be filed.

The counsel for the Election Commission said the action was probably taken for violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during which period political advertisements are prohibited.

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The EC’s submission was opposed by the auto driver’s lawyer who contended that firstly it was not a political advertisement and even if it was, it would not be prohibited as it was displayed at the petitioner’s expense and not by a political party.

He said the MCC does not talk of political advertisement out of an individuals own funds. He also said that political advertisements were permitted on the rear, right and left sides of public service vehicles, including autos, under guidelines regarding this issued by the Delhi government in 2018.

After hearing brief arguments by all sides, the court asked them to file their respective replies before the next date of hearing on March 3. According to the petition, the petitioner had displayed “I love Kejriwal” and “sirf Kejriwal” messages on his auto.

It has claimed that the action was taken without any advance notice by any government department prohibiting such a display. It has also claimed the petitioner was ‘illegally’ challaned under various provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act for allegedly violating conditions of his permit to operate an auto.

BJP targeting autowallahs, says Kejriwal

After Delhi police slapped a heavy challan for painting ‘I Love Kejriwal’ on his auto Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the BJP is targeting auto-rickshaw drivers.

Tagging a media report according to which an autorickshaw driver was fined ₹10,000 for painting ‘I love Kejriwal’ on his auto, Kejriwal urged the BJP to stop targeting the poor.

“The BJP through its police is making false challans of poor auto drivers. His only mistake is that he has written I love Kejriwal. Such maliciousness against the poor is not right. I appeal to the BJP to stop taking revenge from the poor,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

The AAP is running an ‘I love Kejriwal’ campaign under which people who want Arvind Kejriwal to become the chief minister of Delhi again are being given pamphlets for distribution. Under the campaign, the autorickshaw drivers supporting the AAP have painted ‘I love Kejriwal’ on their autos.

(With inputs from agencies)

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