Delhi High Court has refused to admit a public interest litigation (PIL) to allow use of lead-acid batteries in e-rickshaws and e-carts, according to local media reports.
The livelaw.in website reported that the plea, moved by an e-rickshaw driver, Atul Vadhera, also sought that choice should be given to purchasers of e-rickshaws and e-carts to use either traditional lead-acid or the more expensive lithium batteries.
Counsel for the petitioner referred to an incident with a fire in a factory manufacturing lithium batteries. The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, said: “So, one or two accidents means the entire technology is to be discarded?”
The Times of India reported a claim that the Delhi transport authority had issued an order refusing to register e-vehicles having lead-acid batteries and was promoting the use of lithium-ion batteries. “It is a policy decision of the government,” the court asserted, according to the report. The PIL noted that all states in India other than Delhi were allowing lead-acid batteries in these vehicles.
The bench pointed out that lead-acid batteries were “very dangerous” and their lithium counterparts were already being used in several appliances. It also noted that the chemical itself has been banned due to the danger posed by acid.
Livelaw.in reported Chief Justice Sharma telling the petitioner’s counsel: “Acid batteries…when you were young, you must be school-going, you must have seen those batteries…in winters we used to put hot water in those batteries when the car did not start. They are all very dangerous batteries.”
A spokesperson for industry body the International Lead Association said: “Lead batteries are a proven technology in e-rickshaws and as such provide a reliable, safe and cost-effective option for manufacturers and users.”
Photo: rickshaws in India