Seriously Consider If Penalty Can Be Imposed On Drivers Without Fastag Using Lanes Reserved For Fastag Vehicles: Kerala HC To Centre
The Kerala High Court has directed the Central Government to consider imposition of penalty on drivers using lanes reserved for fastag vehicles, without fitting Fastag or with expired Fastag.
“…the Central Government ought to seriously consider whether penalty can be imposed against drivers using the lanes reserved for Fastag vehicles, without fitting Fastag or with expired Fastag.”, the Court observed.
The bench of Justice VG Arun was dealing with a plea by the petitioner who was compelled to approach the Court due to the loss of valuable time at the Paliyekkara Toll Plaza, by reason of the long queue of vehicles at all times.
The petitioner alleges that the delay on the part of the Concessionaire's staff in collecting the toll and their disputes with the drivers are resulting in the traffic snarls.
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that even after introduction of the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, there is disruption in the free flow of traffic.
However, the National Highways Authority stoutly denied the allegation.
It asserted that, after the introduction of ETC (Fastag), the movement of traffic through the toll gates has become unhindered and occasional delay happens only when vehicles not fitted with Fastag or without sufficient balance in their Fastag attempt to pass through the lanes set up apart for vehicles fitted with Fastag.
Advocate Anjali Anil A. appeared for the petitioner.
The Court observed that delays at toll booths will have a cascading effect on the movement of vehicles, thereby affecting the lives and livelihoods of the commuters, who are made to pay the toll based on the promise to provide hassle-free movement of vehicles through good roads.
Thus the Court directed the Central government to consider whether an amendment could be brought about to Section 201 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1998, so as to impose penalty on vehicles causing obstruction to free flow of traffic at toll plazas.
The Court also held that the National Highways Authority and the Concessionaire are bound to device ways and means to ensure smooth and uninterpreted flow of traffic through the Paliyekkara Toll Plaza with immediate effect.
“…the National Highways Authority and the Concessionaire are bound to device ways and means to ensure smooth and uninterpreted flow of traffic through the Paliyekkara Toll Plaza with immediate effect, failing which this Court may have to require the authorities to give effect to the Guidelines in larger public interest.”, the Court directed.
Cause Title- Nithin Ramakrishnan v. Union of India & 11 Ors.