The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday stayed the Punjab government move to grant extension and increase in trips of bus permits of private operators.
The high court bench of justice Surya Kant and justice Sudip Ahluwalia acted on the public interest litigation of Surjit Singh Soeta and Amir Chand, both Punjab residents, who had alleged that the transport business was being held to ransom by a mafia of transporters, politicians as well as certain officials of the transport department. The provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, were being flouted with impunity, while granting and extending the route permits, the court was told.
The high court has sought reply from the state government and regional transport authorities of Patiala, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Bathinda while asking the government not to extend any permit, already on extension, and increase trips of existing bus permits. Reply has been sought by November 8.
The government had come out with public notices on granting of extension of permits to those already operating in their respective areas and also on increasing trips.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Rupinder Khosla said authorities were throwing all norms to the winds, and violating the court orders on this issue and provisions of the MV Act. They seem to be in a hurry to grant illegal extensions and increase in trips, in direct contravention of the orders of the high court, Khosla told the court.