The decision of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Thane to not allow Maruti vans to ferry children to school was prima facie not justified, said the Bombay high court.
A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice AA Sayed were hearing a petition filed by the Vidyarthi Vahatuk Sanghatana challenging the RTO’s decision.
The petitioner contended that children in Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra, were allowed to go to school in a Maruti van and it was only the Thane RTO, which took exception and did not allow such vehicles to ply.
The government pleader said the state had decided to change the policy and as per the draft rules, a new policy is likely to be evolved by which the members of the Vidyarthi Vahatuk Sanghatana will be permitted to ply the van for the purpose of taking children to school.
The judges noted, "Prima facie, in our view, the decision taken by Thane RTO is not justified especially when it is an admitted position that in Mumbai and other cities of the state as well as in the rest of the country, there is no restriction by which school children are allowed to avail the services by Maruti van.”
"Since the government pleader has assured that expeditious steps will be taken to finalise the draft rules and the petitioner can take benefit of giving services to the children till June, at present, we deem it proper to adjourn the matter to April 25,” the judges said. “In case, the rules are not finalised before the said date, the court shall consider the petitioner's request for interim relief."