The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre, Delhi government and Delhi Traffic Police on a petition challenging a recent Delhi High Court order making it mandatory for traffic violators to pay an additional fine of Rs 500.
A vacation bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat also sought response from the respondents on the Federation’s plea to stay the high court’s order but refused to give any interim relief.
"Do you have the right to violate the traffic rules and then seek relief after committing the mistake? You obey the signals if you do not want to pay the fine,'' the bench observed.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted on behalf of petitioners Federation of Delhi Bus Operators and its President Harvinder Singh Kalra that the order amounted to legislating the Motor Vehicle Act, which was within Parliament's domain.
The Federation has questioned the high court's order on the ground that "courts are not entitled to usurp the legislative functions under the disguise of interpretation."
It further submitted the directions were being misused by the authorities who allowed traffic personnel like head constables, not empowered to issue challans under the Motor Vehicle Act, to collect the compounding fee along with the fine.
Besides, the Federation claimed the high court was not entitled to pass the directions because the Central Government was already in the process of amending the Motor Vehicle Act. One of the proposed amendments is to enhance the penalty, the Federation said.
The high court had on March 26 issued several directions to reign in traffic violators. It included empowering the traffic police to charge Rs 500 as an additional cost to the existing compounding fee. This amount will enable the State to recover the expenditure, which it incurs in regulating traffic.
The Supreme Court stayed the high court’s direction in the same order asking the Delhi Government to register only low floor buses plying on city roads.