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HC: Metro fare hike, free ride to women are for govts to decide

HC: Metro fare hike, free ride to women are for govts to decide

New Delhi:

Delhi high court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the fare hike decision of Delhi Metro and a proposed plan to make it free for women, saying both decisions are within the remit of the authorities concerned.

“Fixation of fares is a statutory function and the process of fixation is complex which involves consideration of several factors, including cost. All these factors cannot be determined in a PIL,” a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar observed, dismissing a plea that also challenged AAP government’s proposal to make metro ride free for women. The court said it is for the authorities to decide fare exemption to a class of passengers as long as all other factors are taken into account.

However, the bench also pointed out that the final decision on free rides for women was yet to be taken, as underlined by the state government in its stand before HC.

The court further slapped a cost of Rs 10,000 on the lawyer petitioner Bipin Bihari Singh, saying the plea was without any substance.

Singh, in his plea had also sought the court’s directions seeking reduction of fare and to make the price bracket spread over 15 slabs instead of the existing six. HC stressed that in policy decisions such as these the court will be “extremely slow” as fixing the fares for Delhi Metro is the prerogative of the government.

With Assembly polls due next year, the Aam Aadmi Party government in June had announced its intention to make metro and bus travel free for women in Delhi, arguing it would “encourage them to use public transport”. The government has maintained it will bear the travel expenses of women commuters and reimburse Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

Even as Singh challenged the proposed plan of Delhi government and urged HC to direct it not to take any steps to make metro ride free for women, the court observed that though this plea has been made in the petition, it was not argued by the petitioner.

It was informed by Delhi government’s additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghosh that the challenge itself is premature as presently no such exemption has been given to women and the proposal is still under consideration.

Even the Centre, represented by standing counsel Gaurang Kanth opposed the PIL.

Singh argued that free rides for women would result in discrimination against other poor sections of the society who find it economically difficult to travel in metro after ticket prices were hiked.

It said none of the first three fare fixation committees constituted earlier had recommended such a drastic increase in fares in Delhi Metro.


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