The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has once again landed under the Delhi High Court's scanner. This time for the alleged "illegal" surcharge totalling to around Rs10 crore it levied from passengers commuting between Delhi and NCR regions since 2005.
A public interest litigation has been filed in the court challenging the Rs1-2 additional charge per ticket from passengers traveling to and fro Delhi- Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon. DTC still continues to charge the amount.
The court has been told that the charge is "illegal" and "discriminatory".
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna has sought the DTC's response by August 10, the next date of hearing, on a petition filed by Ramesh Chabbra, a Faridabad-based business executive.
Chabbra's lawyer Girija Krishan Varma told the court: "The levy since 2005 was without the due approval of the competent authority, the Lieutenant Governor. It needs to be probed".
An RTI lawyer, Varma said DTC was evasive when the first RTI query was made as no reply was given. "Then after an application was moved at the Central Information Commission, the DTC admitted the levy was without the L-G's approval.
The court ruled: "The PIL says that DTC has introduced surcharge on travel from Delhi to NCR regions without due approval of the competent authority. DTC, which is responsible for imposition of the surcharge, shall file an affidavit to the effect that whether the levy has been legally imposed or not. Let the affidavit be filed within two weeks."
The petitioner has sought the imposition of "heavy" penalty on DTC for "acting arbitrarily in levying extra surcharge". Varma had sought an immediate stay on the levy but the bench said it was a fiscal issue where there was limited scope of interference and no order could be passed without knowing on what basis the surcharge was being levied."Let us wait for the reply from the government," the court told the petitioner.