The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday refused to stay the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which restrained collection of toll tax on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway for 15 days to ensure free flow of traffic.
A bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur found no merit in the plea of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which wanted a stay on the high court's order, on the ground the civic body was incurring a loss of about R25 lakh per day. It directed the municipal body to approach the high court for relief.
Appearing for the SDMC, senior advocate Ravi Shankar Prasad requested the court to allow it to charge toll tax from commercial vehicles. The bench was, however, not impressed.
On September 4, the high court had restrained the Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) from collecting toll tax on the expressway for 15 days.
It held the concessionaire had not been able to ensure free flow of traffic on the stretch. The DGSCL's efforts to facilitate a smooth ride by increasing the number of toll gates also failed, following which the court passed the order.
Directions were issued to the Haryana government to provide dedicated police personnel at the toll plaza.
Last week, the SDMC had also approached the Delhi High Court, seeking contempt against the DGSCL for allegedly concealing its orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In its petition, the corporation accused the DGSCL of disobeying two Delhi High Court orders, which directed status quo as regard to toll collection by the concessionaire on behalf of the SDMC from commercial vehicles entering the Capital from Gurgaon. Notice was issued to the DGSCL and it was asked to respond to the contempt plea by September 27.
Under a May 2008 arrangement with the erstwhile MCD, the DGSCL was to collect toll tax at Rajokari Border on behalf of the corporation. In return, the civic body was to pay 11% of the tax collected to the DGSCL as service charge.
However, due to a dispute over the payment of service tax between the concessionaire and the MCD, the latter approached the Delhi High Court.
A status quo order was passed on April 25 and July 4, 2011, by the court and the same were to remain in force till the dispute between the two, regarding the service tax to be paid to the DGSCL was settled.