Directions issued for plying buses procured under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme

Himachal Pradesh High Court: While deciding the writ petition filed by private bus operators wherein they contend that the buses received under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) scheme by the respondents cannot be plied beyond the city limits of Shimla and be permitted to run on concessional fares and also that issuance of various notifications as well as use of buses under the JnNURM scheme is contrary to the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (the Act) and Rules framed there under as the State was bound to adhere to the JnNURM scheme, a division bench of Rajiv Sharma and Tarlok Singh Chauhan, JJ partly allowed the petitions and issued directions stating that the respondents are directed to finalize the scheme as notified under Section 99 of the Act and they should ply the buses in such a manner so as to ensure equitable distribution of passengers between the buses run by the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and the private operators. The Court also directed HRTC not to charge lower fare than the one notified vide notification dated 30.9.2013.

In the instant case, the respondents procured buses under JnNURM scheme and have permitted to run them on concessional fares in inter district and inter-State routes without obtaining the stage carriage permit that too without any particular time table. The petitioners were aggrieved by these facts and hence filed the present petition.

The Court further stated that the said scheme is framed to provide adequate, economical road transport and the State Government is required to act in public interest to cancel or modify the scheme under Section 102 of the Act after giving the person so affected an opportunity of hearing. Giving further reasons the Court stated that as the buses procured under JnNURM are new and offering concessional fares, the private operators are loosing hence time tables should be drawn for running such buses. Niji Bus Operator Kalyan Sabha v. State of H.P., 2015 SCC OnLine HP 1231, decided on 28.5.2015

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