If you’ve roamed the streets of Delhi, chances are you’ve seen autos bearing slogans like ‘I Love Kejriwal’ or something similar.

According to The Times of India, one of these auto drivers, who just about ekes together a living, was challaned Rs.10,000 by the police for sporting these symbols. 

Now, a group of auto-rickshaw drivers have moved Delhi high court challenging this arbitrary prosecution by traffic police officers.

The Quint

The petitioners claim these exorbitant challans violate their fundamental right to free speech and that ‘expressing their opinion in a permitted manner’ shouldn’t be a punishable offence.

The court was told that, 

The petitioner had painted the words “I love kejriwal” and “Sirf kejriwal” on the back of his vehicle in September-October 2019, of his free will and without any coercion, allurement, inducement, monetary incentive or force from anyone. Without any missive from government department, his vehicle was illegally challaned for displaying a political ad.

However, according to a 2018 high court order, symbols seen as political advertisement, are exempted from the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules as per a government’s statement.

After much hue and cry, the Delhi HC has issued a notice to the government and the police over the petitioner’s plea.

Financial Express

Considering auto drivers just about manage to make ends meet, especially in a city like Delhi, it’s ridiculous that the cops are targeting them for sporting symbols. What’s even worse is the massive fines they are applying, and the fear they are encouraging. It’s shameful.