The Delhi High Court on Wednesday upheld the Delhi government's new policy of revoking permits of Blueline buses involved in even one fatal accident.
Lawyer for the government Rajiv Nanda said it was a major victory" as the State Transport Authority was being forced by the Blueline operators' association to revoke the decision. The policy has proved to be an effective deterrent against errant Bluelines," he said.
The court's approval came in a case where two Blueline operators, Bernard Soreng and R.P. Sharma, challenged the non-renewal of their licences because their buses were involved in a fatal accident.
Justice Indermeet Kaur found the new policy in line with earlier court directions for safeguarding interest of commuting public who were facing risk ... by the increase in the number of fatal accidents by the Blueline buses".
The STA, on March 30, 2009, had issued a notice saying permits of buses involved even in one fatal accident will be cancelled. But some changes were made after protests from operators' bodies.
After revision, the notice said that buses involved in a single fatal accident would not be considered for stage carriage permit but might be considered for contract carriage permit.
The petitioners in court were not even willing to take this offer and insisted on getting back their permits to operate Blueline buses. The court, however, made it clear that if the court sets an operator free in the accident case, he can seek renewal of stage carriage permit.
The court said: It is not as if the bread or butter of the petitioners has been snatched or taken away. They are still permitted to ply their buses but with a rider. A rash, negligent and reckless driver must face the consequences. These conditions are in the nature of reasonable restrictions on the right of the petitioners."