The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea raising objection to the proposal of free metro ride to women in the national capital—a proposal of the AAP government. A bench comprising of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar observed that it is for the authorities to decide on the matter and refused to hear the petition saying that there is no substance in it. The bench also fined the petitioner with Rs 10,000 to be submitted to the Delhi High Court Bar Library within four weeks.

The petition urged reduction of fares and to make 15 slabs of the ticket price instead of existing six. “Fixation of fares is a statutory function and the process of fixation is complex which involves consideration of several factors, including cost. All these factors cannot be determined in a PIL,” the bench said, News 18 reported.

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Advocate Bipin Bihari Singh had filed the petition which stands rejected. Court stated that Singh has failed to point out the illegality of the fares fixation and that the court will be “extremely slow” in fixing the fares for Delhi Metro which is the prerogative of the government. It noted that two more petition on the same lines challenging the free metro rides have been filed earlier with the court and they were also not heard.

“We are not inclined to give any direction, much less in the nature of mandamus to respondents no. 1 to 3 (Delhi government, union of India and DMRC) on fixation of fares which prevailing today,” the bench said.

Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghosh said in objection of the plea that it was premature because no such exemption has been made by the Delhi government yet. The Petition said that such a move would create a parallel arbitrary discrimination against other poorer sections of the society who finds it economically difficult to travel in metro after ticket prices were hiked.

“We are not inclined to give any direction, much less in the nature of mandamus to respondents No. 1 to 3 (Delhi government, union of India and DMRC) on fixation of fares which prevailing today”

“The number of fare slabs which stood at 15 for the last over 11 years from December 2005 to May 2017, has been unfairly reduced to six slabs… Therefore, a reduction in fares would not only bring a lot of relief to the passengers travelling in metro but would also increase the ridership,” it said.

The initiative, announced by the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to make commuting in public transport accessible for women, is estimated to cost around 1600 crore rupees to fund the fare exemption, claimed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Many people believe that this move by the Delhi government is politically motivated as it comes right before the Delhi assembly elections in 2020.

Picture credit- News X

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