June 12, 2015 3:03:48 am
The Bombay High Court Thursday asked the state government to file a reply on whether a hike in auto and taxi fares can be effected when the government has issued a resolution to set up a new committee after deciding to scrap the recommendations of an earlier committee on revision of auto and taxi fares.
The government had decided to set up a three-member committee for revision of fares. The committee has to submit its report in six months, and will comprise a retired High Court judge, a financial expert, and a retired state transport commissioner, the court was informed.
Consumer rights body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) had approached the HC to defer the proposed auto and taxi fare hike in light of the state government’s decision to scrap the Hakim Committee report on revision of auto and taxi fares.
With the petitioner now planning to challenge the new GR, the court has granted MGP time to amend its PIL accordingly.
The MGP’s present petition also opposes the Hakim committee recommendations.
The advocate representing MGP, Uday Warunjikar, said that in light of the new GR, the decision to hike auto and taxi fares should be deferred for six months till the new committee takes its decision. The government counsel, however, said the state could go ahead with the fare hike in the interim period till the new committee takes a decision.
The court, observing that the GR is silent if the hike can be implemented during the interim, said: “The petitioner is granted time to amend the petition. The government should also take instructions in the matter and file an affidavit in this regard,” said Justices Naresh Patil and S B Shukre. The matter will be heard on Thursday.
The fare hike was announced by the Mumbai Metropolitan Road Transport Authority (MMRTA) on May 11. The hike was to come into effect from June 1.The minimum fare for autos was to go up from Rs 17 to Rs 18, while minimum taxi fares were to go up from a Rs 21 to Rs 22. The hike was to come into effect only after meters of the 1.05 lakh autos and 35,000 taxis in the city were recalibrated.
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