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Autos, cars, jeeps & taxis get relief from HC not to pay toll

Light motor vehicles such as auto rickshaws, cars, jeeps, taxis and three-wheeler delivery vans would not have to pay toll as the Bombay High Court has refused to stay a Maharashtra government notification exempting such vehicles from paying toll at Sion-Panvel toll point in city.

The order was given by a bench of Justices R K Deshpande and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi on a petition filed by Sion Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd, which runs toll booths on a ‘Build-operate-transfer’ basis, challenging the government notification of May 26, 2015 in which light motor vehicles have been exempted from paying the toll at the point.

Earlier, by a notification dated January 3, 2015, the state had authorised the company to collect toll from light motor vehicles at the rate of Rs 30 each.

“After hearing the counsel for the petitioners and after going through the documents placed on record, we find that the notification has been issued in public interest and apart from it, it is purely a contractual matter,” said a vacation bench of the HC recently.

“The government has powers to grant such exemption under the provisions of the (Bombay Motor Vehicles) Act and therefore, we do not find any jurisdictional error. If there is any breach of the terms of the contract, we are of the prima facie view that it is a case where damages can be claimed. We do not find any reason to grant interim relief and hence this prayer is rejected,” the Judges observed.

The vacation bench posted the petition for admission and further orders after the summer vacation.

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