The Supreme Court will on Friday hear an appeal by the Noida Toll Bridge Company (NTBCL) against the Allahabad High Court order to make the Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) Flyway toll free. A bench led by Justice Anil R Dave agreed to list the appeal for hearing on an urgent basis after senior counsel Shyam Divan mentioned the plea on Thursday.
The Allahabad HC bench of Justice Arun Tandon and Justice Sunita Agrawal was hearing a PIL filed by the Federation of Noida Resident Welfare Association in 2012, challenging the levy and collection of toll in the name of user fee by the company.
It observed that further collection of toll was illegal and directed the state government to ensure that it was not levied any further.
The company had argued that it had not been able to recover the total cost of project and returns, which includes a provision that the company will recover 20 per cent of total project cost per year from user fee. The High Court had, however, observed that since the amount of operation and maintenance costs were “ever increasing”, the method of calculation of the total project cost was “arbitrary and opposed to public policy”. The High Court had also struck down the relevant section of the agreement by which the company was calculating its costs and amount recoverable from user fee.
The High Court had also observed that the agreement between the UP government and NTBCL was a “glaring example of misuse of power by a public authority” as the Noida authority had “first entered into the agreement and then framed regulations to bring the clauses of agreement in line with the legislation to give it a statutory backing”.