The Bombay high court on Friday asked the state authorities to extend the permits issued to school bus owners till April 30.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the School Bus Owners Association challenging a government notification laying out new rules to be followed for the safety of school children. The notification, dated March 22, 2011, had laid down 23 safety rules for school buses.
A division bench headed by chief justice Mohit Shah, while disposed of the PIL, also directed the authorities to decide on the representation made by the association for changing guidelines by May 16.
Appearing for the state, assistant government pleader GW Mattos contended that under the guise of challenging the legality of the notification, the association is trying to get the permits extended.
The petitioners’ lawyer, VP Patil, pointed out that the guidelines should not be implemented until they are placed before the state legislature for approval. The bench concurred, asking the state government why it is enforcing the guidelines while the association’s representation is pending.
The petition states that the association is not against the safety rules, but the authorities have made changes suddenly, and arbitrarily, which is illegal on many counts, including on technical aspects.
According to Patil, the traffic department is demanding that these new rules be followed even though they are not legislated yet. “We don’t want to go on strike but if our permits are not issued how can the buses ply,” Patil said on behalf the school bus owners.
The petitioners have sought that the state should follow the law in existence, since the 2011 notification has not yet been placed before the state legislature.