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Contempt petition in High Court against unions for auto strike

Consumer forum Mumbai Grahak Panchayat moved the Bombay High Court seeking contempt action against taxi and auto-rickshaw unions for resorting to strike on June 15 and 17 in the city.

The taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers had gone on a strike seeking implementation of a proposed hike in fares and against scrapping of Hakim committee which recommended it.

The petition, likely to come up for hearing before a division bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil tomorrow, contends that the High Court had passed an order in August 2013 saying that taxi and auto unions should not threaten to go on strike time and again.

Hearing the petition, filed by Grahak Panchayat against fare hike, the High Court had last week directed the unions to file an affidavit by June 23 stating the reason for the latest strikes.

Advocate Uday Warunjikar, the Panchayat’s lawyer, said that by going on strike the unions committed a contempt of court.

The court has also sought an affidavit from Maharashtra government on its stand on the proposed hike until a high-level committee decides the issue.

The state government had earlier approached the court seeking approval for the proposed fare hike announced by the Mumbai Metropolitan Road Transport Authority. The state informed that it had formed a high-level committee headed by a retired judge of the Bombay High Court after scrapping the Hakim committee.

The HC approval is necessary as a PIL by Mumbai Grahak Panchayat had challenged the Hakim committee and its findings a few years ago.

MMRTA had on May 11 proposed a hike in the basic fare for auto-rickshaws and taxis. The minimum fare for autos is expected to go up from Rs 17 to Rs 18, while taxi fare is from the minimum Rs 21 to Rs 22.

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