THE Bombay High Court directed a three-member committee Tuesday to look into disputes relating to payment of compensation to the company that developed the Sion-Panvel Expressway. The company had challenged a government notification regarding toll waiver.
A petition had been filed by Sion Panvel Tollways challenging a notification of May 26 that exempted autorickshaws, cars, jeeps, taxis and three-wheelers, state buses, school buses and delivery vans from paying toll at the Sion-Panvel toll plaza.
“Differences between the Sion Panvel Tollways and the state regarding the principle for determining losses wil be decided by the state government-constituted committee comprising additional chief secretaries of finance, public works and planning departments. All parties shall approach the committee, which shall look into all disputes relating to compensation. The decision should be made by December 31,” said Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A K Menon. The court said the decision of the committee could be challenged before an appropriate forum. In the meantime, the state government will continue to pay the company Rs 3.85 lakh on ad hoc basis per month till the committee arrives at a decision.
Senior counsel Vineet Naik, appearing for the state, and government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani said the court order said it would not interfere with the policy of the state.
The company had challenged the notification citing violation of rights to equality and carry on business. The state, meanwhile, maintained that it would compensate the company and had made budgetary provisions for the same. On August 28, Naik had submitted a letter that referred to the government’s willingness to resolve this issue through constitution of a committee.