The Delhi High Court, on Monday, said the Delhi Government has the power to phase out Blueline buses in the "larger interest of public safety". The court directive came during the hearing of a petition filed by the Federation of Delhi Bus Operators.
The federation had challenged Delhi government's notification that banned Blueline and Whiteline buses from the NDMC areas.
According to the notification that came out on October 27, 1,567 buses running on 142 routes were "banned" or "curtailed". These include some of the busiest routes such as the Mehrauli-Anand Vihar route, Greater Kailash-New Delhi Railway Station route, Kapashera Border-Mori Gate route and Saket-Old Delhi Station.
The government also decided to phase out all Blueline buses in the city December 14.
Delhi government's counsel Najmi Waziri told the court that the government had restricted operations of these stage carriages "to ensure public safety during the (Commonwealth) Games and also to regulate traffic and congestion on roads". The restriction was extended to October 25, 2010.
He said that the motor vehicles' act confers the government powers to bring out such notifications in public interest.
The bench noted that the decision was appreciated by all concerned. But when the restrictions were removed, cases rash driving and fatal accident were again reported, the court said.
When the federation said the new directive would affect livelihoods of nearly 1,600 families, justice Valmiki J Mehta replied: "What about the hundreds of bread winners of families you crush under your buses?"
Refusing to grant any interim stay on the phase-out, justice SK Kaul, the other member of the bench, said the government had the power to bring out such notification in the larger interest of public safety. The bench fixed January 10, 2011, as the date of next hearing.
Last week, the high court had given relief to Blueline operators plying buses in south Delhi saying the government's notification for complete phase-out by December 14 will not apply to cluster 1 buses.