The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday ordered to maintain status quo on the operation of stage carriage permits issued to private cooperative transport societies in Haryana.
The directions came while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by various cooperative transport societies of Haryana, seeking quashing of the Haryana passenger transport scheme approved on August 8, 2013, stating it to be in violation of mandatory provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Earlier, the Haryana government had published a scheme in 1993 for the grant of stage carriage permits to cooperative societies under which the petitioners were granted one regular stage carriage permit.
Thereafter, the state government framed another scheme, called the Haryana passenger transport scheme, 2001, under which the permits were to be granted on the basis of the highest bid but the same was also quashed by the high court, stating it to be illegal. Later, one more such scheme was notified in May 2012 and that too was quashed by the high court.
The petitioners had submitted that the state government could form such a scheme only for the operation of state transport undertakings but here the scheme had been formulated for private operators and no route had been kept for the operation of state transport undertakings. Thus, the scheme was not in consonance with the Motor Vehicles Act.
It was also submitted that the scheme provides for issue of permits by draw of lots and thus such a procedure for the allotment of permits by draw of lots is against the basic principle and procedure of allotment of permits as provided under the act. However, the permits should be granted by considering merits of various applicants as the competition among the intending applicants is of efficiency and it cannot be left to sheer luck to allot permits by the draw of lots that comes within the boundary of gambling.
The petitioners also submitted that the new scheme was illegal since as per the act, the regional transport authority has to give the opportunity of hearing to the intending applicant for the grant of permit and has to give reasons for rejecting also.
The hearing of the case has now been posted for September 11.