Udayavni Special

COVID-19: HC dismisses PIL against toll fee during lockdown

Team Udayavani, Apr 27, 2020, 8:42 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL seeking to forbear collection of toll charges from road users till the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

Pointing to an earlier order of it which had held the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was bound to maintain toll roads to facilitate the smooth and safe movement of traffic, the court said the prayer for blanket order against the collection of toll cannot be granted.

A bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice M Nirmal Kumar, however, gave liberty to the public interest litigation petitioner V Munikrishnanto submit a detailed representation seeking the relief to the NHAI if advised and permissible under law.

Citing the loss suffered by farmers and others due to the lockdown, the petitioner said levying toll charges amounted to adding salt to the wound.

Earlier, Assistant Solicitor General G. Karthikeyan submitted levy of toll was having a statutory backing in the form of the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008.

Meanwhile, another PIL has been filed in the court seeking a direction to the authorities to keep open home appliances shops and service centers for specific timings during the lockdown.

Many healthcare facilities and thousands of households were in urgent need of maintenance and repair of home appliances which have become life-essential products, the petition said.

It is likely to come up for hearing later this week.

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