The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a gazette notification stating that e-carts and e-rickshaws are free from permit requirements. As per the notification, the provisions of the sub-section (1) of section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, will not apply to e-carts and e-rickshaws (as defined in section 2A of the said act,) that are used for carrying goods or passengers with personal luggage.
This implies that e-carts and e-vehicles do not need to obtain any government permit to be deemed road legal. However, the government has stated that states can impose restrictions on plying of these vehicles in specific areas or roads under appropriate traffic laws.
In 2014, the Delhi High Court had banned e-rickshaws owing to a lack of regulations. Post that, the central government had decided to impose a maximum speed limit of 25kmph. Additionally, it was decided that e-rickshaws can carry a maximum of four passengers, excluding the driver, and luggage being carried canâ€™t be more than 40 kilograms and the driver must possess a valid driving license. The e-carts can transport luggage up to 310 kilograms. Also, the power of the vehicles motor should not be more than 2,000W.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued these guidelines and notified rules in order to bring e-carts and e-rickshaws under the regulatory framework. The notification addressed e-rickshaws as a special purpose, battery-operated vehicle having three wheels and intended to provide last mile connectivity for transport of passengers for hire or reward.
However, these rules and regulations were not being followed in many states. Also, obtaining permits for e-carts and e-rickshaws were proving to be a challenge. This new notification has removed all legal hurdles, and e-carts and e-rickshaws can now be operated freely across the country.