On Thursday the High Court of Delhi told that, dismissing a plea seeking the scrapping of the existing bus corridor, “Implementation of BRT (bus rapid transit) corridors in the city of Delhi is not an irrational decision”
The division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Manmohat Singh came out in favour of the controversial 5.8 km Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand BRT corridor in south Delhi saying that it was capable of “better regulations and discipline”.
The court’s order came two days after the government gave approval to seven new BRT corridors.
The High court of Delhi also said. “In the area of road transport, if an existing system is sought to be replaced by a more organised system, capable of better regulations and discipline, then this is an urban transport philosophy, reflected in the decision of the government,”
Both the judges said that such a decision may have its merits and de-merits “but they are best left to the wisdom of the executive and in such matters of policy the accepted principle is that the court should not interfere”.
The court pronounced its judgment on a plea which was filed by NGO Nyaya Bhoomi seeking the scrapping of the BRT corridor, throwing open for cars a road lane reserved for buses
The judges declined the plea and said: “The journey time for cars would continue to increase even if there is no BRT because the number of cars and two-wheelers on the roads of Delhi is increasing by the day and unless BRT is accepted by the citizens of Delhi, the journey time for cars to cover the necessary distance would continue to increase.”
The petitioner’s plea that the buses on the BRT should ply on the left lane of the road was also rejected by the court.
The bench of judges said. “It is a matter of policy, we cannot issue any direction but would highlight that a BRT corridor would require the buses to ply on the central median side because of the right turns which the buses have to take at the crossings and the signals put in place”
They noted that the many of people using personal vehicles for transport had proportionately risen far more than those who used public transport buses.
“The argument in the writ petition that those who create wealth travel on the roads by cars and their time is precious… ignores that unless labour meaningfully participates hand in hand with the capital, by itself the capital would create no wealth. Interests or concerns, beyond what belongs to any one of the 160 million people of Delhi have to be adjudicated keeping in view the interest of all and not a few or a group.”
The order added. “Besides, these wealth creators, we are sure, would like to live in a developed country; and we remind ourselves that a developed country is not one where the poor own cars. It is one where the rich use public transport”
The bench also hoped and expected that as a responsible govt., it would look into the specific problem at Chirag Delhi crossing in south Delhi and would take all remedial measures necessary to decongest the traffic there.
Nyaya Bhoomi’s president B.B. Sharan alleged that the corridor was causing inconvenience to the public.
Sharan referred to a survey report of the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) on the functioning of the BRT and sought its scrapping on the ground that it was harassment for the commuters and a complete waste of public money.
During the hearing, the city government had defended the BRT system and criticised the CRRI report terming it “unconstitutional” and “irrational” as it ignored the rights of bus commuters.
The CRRI in its report, prepared after trial runs on the corridor as directed by the court, suggested that “No BRT” option yielded better benefits for this corridor with the given traffic conditions.
The BRT corridor in south Delhi was introduced in 2008 to make bus travel safer and faster, and encourage travel that did not involve cars.