A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar made it clear however that the action would not make the notification, which makes the scheme applicable on DTC buses, illegal.
The observations by the bench came while declining to entertain a plea challenging the notification providing free travel for women on buses operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) in the national capital.
“The notification does not say the scheme is applicable on cluster buses. We cannot believe it on your statement. It does not talk of cluster buses. If they (Delhi government) have made it applicable on cluster buses, then the notification is not bad, their action is.
“Then you challenge that before a single judge. File a better petition,” the court said to the lawyer appearing for the petitioner organisations which represent small time public transport operators who run mini buses, ‘gramin sewa’, ‘phat phat sewa’ and rural transport vehicles.
Sensing that the bench was going to dismiss the matter, the lawyer for the petitioner organisations sought permission to withdraw the plea.
The court granted the permission and said, “Dismissed bas withdrawn”.
The petition challenged the Delhi government’s October 28, 2019 notification by which a provision was added in the Delhi Transport Corporation (Free and Concessional Passes) Regulation of 1985 to make travel free for women on DTC buses.
The petition contended that the scheme and the regulation were contrary to the Motor Vehicle Act and impermissible under the Constitution.
It also said that due to free travel for women on DTC and cluster buses, small time operators were getting fewer passengers making their respective businesses financially unviable.