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Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to interfere with the fare hike decision of Delhi Metro and a proposed plan to make free metro ride for women. It says that both decisions rest within the sphere of the concerned authorities.
Delhi high court’s statement
“Fixation of fares is a legal function and the process of deciding the fares is complex. It involves contemplation of numerous factors, including cost. All these factors cannot be regulated in a PIL,” observed a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar. They dismissed a plea that also summoned AAP government’s proposal to make metro ride free for women. The court stated it is for the authorities to decide fare exemption to a class of passengers.
However, the bench also mentioned that the final decision on free rides for women was yet to be taken. This has been highlighted by the state government in its stand before HC.
Moreover, the court imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the lawyer petitioner Bipin Bihari Singh. They said the plea was without any matter.
Singh, in his appeal had also sought the court’s directions seeking reduction of fare and to make the price bracket unfurl over 15 slabs instead of the existing six. HC emphasised that in policy decisions such as these, the court will be unrushed as fixing the fares for Delhi Metro is the right of the government.
The AAP government in June had proclaimed to make metro and bus travel free for women in Delhi. They stated it would encourage women to use public transport. The government has stated it will bear the travel expenses of women commuters and reimburse Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
Discrimination towards other sections of the society
Singh asserted that free rides for women would result in prejudice against other poor sections of the society who find it economically difficult to travel in metro after ticket prices were raised.
He said none of the fare fixation committees constituted earlier had suggested such a drastic hike in fares.
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