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Can you exempt lawyers from odd-even? asks Delhi HC

The Delhi high court today asked the city government to see if there was any possibility of lawyers being exempted from the odd-even traffic scheme now in place in the national capital.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said: “Consider if there is any possibility to exempt lawyers for the remaining period of the odd-even scheme which is expiring on 30 April.”

The bench asked the city government to apprise the court about its decision by Tuesday.

The scheme was a policy decision of the Delhi government and it was in force for two weeks and was not a permanent scheme, the bench noted.

Under the second phase of the odd-even scheme, four-wheelers with odd and even registration numbers are to ply on alternate odd-even dates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the April 15-30 period.

The scheme is not enforced on Sundays and vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, and ambulances and certain categories of VIPs and women drivers are exempted.

Appearing for the Delhi government, counsel Rahul Mehra told the bench that only four days were left for the scheme to end.

The petition filed by Delhi high court Bar Association president Rajiv Khosla alleged that the 11 April government notification on the fortnight-long odd-even scheme was “arbitrary, illegal, unreasonable and against the spirit of the Constitution”.

He also challenged the Rs 2,000 fine being slapped for violation of the scheme without amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act.

The plea said the notification was hampering the legal fraternity in carrying out its professional responsibilities in the various courts and tribunals in Delhi.

“It is evident that the said policy has been passed in haste without carrying out studies/research in relation to the work schedule of professionals,” Khosla said.

He said “lawyers are entitled to be exempted from the application of the odd-even scheme as the lawyers assist the courts in guarding the personal liberty and civil rights of citizens”.

The court also asked the Delhi government to file its response by 19 July on another plea, filed by Delhi resident Rohini Jolly through advocate Sachit Jolly, which said that the government notification “arbitrarily discriminates between women who can drive and women who cannot drive”, by allowing women who can drive to be exempt from the scheme on the grounds that single women drivers were unsafe in Delhi.

The plea also argued that “women in cars driven by male drivers, because they are unable to drive, have been irrationally excluded from this ‘class within the class’”.

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