Revisit move to allow pvt bus operators to run services, SC tells State

Revisit move to allow pvt bus operators to run services, SC tells State

The Supreme Court has asked the State government to reconsider its decision to allow private bus operators to run services on certain routes, including Mysuru, Bengaluru, BTS, Kanakapura and Ballari.

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra dismissed a batch of appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court order of 2011 quashing the government’s decision to allocate bus-plying facilities to private operators by modifying the Motor Vehicles Act.

Observing that modification of schemes by the State government could not be said to be in accordance with the principles of natural justice in the absence of reasons to conclude that private operators were meeting the genuine demands of the public in excess of service provided by STOs, hence, the Supreme Court said it could not be sustainable.

“Modification of the scheme is a quasi-judicial function while modifying or cancelling a scheme. The State government is duty-bound to consider objections and give reasons either to accept or reject them. The rule of reason is anti-thesis to arbitrariness in action and is a necessary concomitant of principles of natural justice,” the bench said.

The court asked the State government to consider within three months objections raised by the State transport authorities over grant of permit, its legality and the plea of discrimination made by some private operators over the change of the scheme and take a reasoned decision.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation contended that the government modified the scheme at the behest of private operators.

The corporation further said it was fully equipped to meet the additional demands from passengers as it had acquired modern fleet, constructed bus stops and even distributed free passes under various categories.

The Karnataka High Court had in 2011 quashed the orders modifying the scheme called Bellary and Kolar schemes and Bangalore and Kanakapura Plans all notified in 2003, Mysore, BTS scheme notified in 2007.

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