HC restores permits of Badal firm run bus service to Delhi airport
The Punjab and Haryana HC has ordered restoration of bus permits of three buses of Indo-Canadian Bus Service, being run between Amritsar and Delhi airport, cancelled on January 7, 2022, by then Congress government in a mega crackdown launched ahead of assembly elections.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered restoration of bus permits of three buses of Indo-Canadian Bus Service, being run between Amritsar and Delhi airport, cancelled on January 7, 2022, by then Congress government in a mega crackdown launched ahead of assembly elections.
The three permits of the firm, linked to Badal family were cancelled on the allegations that the buses were registered as contract carriage/tourist buses, but the same were being plied as stage carriage buses. It was claimed that the passengers were being picked up from different contact/boarding points en-route such as Phillaur, Ludhiana etc and that the firm was using its vehicles as a stage carriage by stopping the same en-route to pick up passengers, which was in violation of conditions for contract carriage permits.
The company had approached high court claiming that the contract carriage buses ferry tourists and NRIs between Amritsar and Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi on the basis of permit as well as authorisation granted under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The court observed that there was no embargo on a contract carriage to pick up or set down passengers who are included in the contract. “The petitioner prepared the list well before the starting of journey, of all the passengers who are included in the contract along with the points from where they were to be picked up as per their convenience. Therefore, by picking up these passengers en-route, the petitioner cannot be said to have operated its vehicle as a stage carriage in violation of its permit,” the bench of justice Raj Mohan Singh ruled.
It said that the firm does not run its buses as a stage carriage as it does not charge the passengers for the stages of the journey. All the tourists who are travelling in the buses have a prior contract and they are charged a fixed contractual amount for the whole of the journey such as Amritsar-New Delhi, it said adding that tourists, however, can select a boarding/contact point for pick up in the route as per their convenience. “Neither any other passenger, who does not have a prior contract with the petitioner is picked up during the journey, nor any tourist is charged different fares for various stages of the journey,” it asserted referring to 2021 rules, which do not prohibit the use of vehicle to carry individual tourists from different pick-up points.
The court further observed that as per stand of the authorities at the time of show cause notice, the firm was free to entertain individual passengers for carrying from Delhi Airport to their destination. “However, the respondents have taken U-turn in the reply to this petition by taking a stand that the petitioner was not entitled to take up individual passengers by having separate contracts with them. The aforesaid stand is wholly against the earlier stand (taken in notice) …….and further shows mala fide of the respondent authorities to harass the petitioner,” the bench added ordering restoration of bus permits.