The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Punjab and Haryana high court order that had asked the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to take over the 291km Panipat-Jalandhar highway project from the project concessionaire, Soma Isolux NH One Tollway Private Limited, as it had failed to complete the project by 2012.
A bench of justice Gyan Sudha Misra and justice Madan B Lokur also issued notices to the Centre, Haryana and NHAI on the plea of the project concessionaire and fixed the next hearing for July 23.
Soma Isolux NH One Tollway had given an undertaking to the high court that it would complete the project by 2012.
However, the high court later asked the NHAI to take over the work from the project concessionaire as it remained incomplete.
The apex court, meanwhile, asked the NHAI to consult the Centre as to whether the toll plazas could be shifted to places as desired by the project concessionaire, which has alleged massive loss on the ground that most of the commuters avoided the existing toll plazas.
The court said the project concessionaire alone could not be held responsible for the delay in the completion of the project as the NHAI had also contributed to the delay.
The Punjab and Haryana high court, in its May 27 order, had asked the NHAI to take over the project as the project concessionaire had failed to complete the project in the timeframe given in its undertaking before the court.
The court asked the parties to try and hammer out a compromise formula so that the project could be completed fast and the general public was not put to inconvenience.