The state government faced furthur flak from the Bombay high court (HC) over the auto and taxi fare hike issue after the court noted that the state government had departed from some of the recommendations of the one-man Hakim Committee report.
The court had earlier taken exception to the fact that the government was depending on just one man for an important issue such as fare hike.
On Thursday, however, when advocate general Darius Khambata said the committee had recommended a much higher hike on based on certain components which the government had reduced, the court asked why the government would do that if they thought Hakim is an expert in this field.
"You have not entirely accepted the recommendations. Who [in the government] applied his mind when you scaled down the figures?" a division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice AS Sayed asked.
"What is the decision-making process applied on the recommendations if you believe the expert report had to be departed from," justice Chandrachud asked.
Khambata said: "This is not fair. We will stick to the Hakim committee recommendations and raise the fare."
"If the reduction has not been done in a scientific way, you can't go back to the committee recommendations," said an agitated court, adding that the state would then have to face a judicial constitutional review.
"Let the Maharashtra government inform the society that they are going to increase the fare", said the court.
The court said that it is a matter of concern if the government finds the Hakim committee report erroneous, as this would subject the middle- class consumer to an even greater hike.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, which has challenged the government resolution that accepted the recommendations of the Hakim committee.
The petitioner's lawyer, Uday Warunjikar, suggested that the court should call for all the files in the matter. Khambata said this is not an adversarial matter where they have to hide something.
The court has now adjourned the hearing till December 20.