The Bombay High Court on Monday questioned the state over the discrepancy between auto and taxi fares mentioned in a 2012 government resolution (GR) and the actual figures. The state has sought a week's time to reply to this.
While the Hakim Committee, which was formed to arrive at a fare structure for autos and taxis that was acceptable to all stakeholders, had proposed the minimum fares for auto and taxis as Rs15 and Rs19 respectively, the GR mentioned the figures as Rs14 and Rs18.
This had led to strikes by the auto and taxi unions, prompting the government to revise the rates upward by Re1, but the government never issued a new GR to this effect.
Opposing the fare hike and Hakim Committee recommendations, consumer rights body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) had filed a public interest litigation in the HC in 2012, following which the court had stayed future increase in the rates.
The discrepancy was brought to the notice of the court by advocate Uday Warunjikar, who is representing MGP. The consumer body again moved the court recently, challenging the government's June 20 decision to increase the fares by Rs2 each.
A division bench of justices Abhay Oka and AS Chandurkar asked the government as to how it had arrived at the figure of Rs 18 and Rs 14 in 2012 despite the committee suggesting one rupee more.
Advocate general Darius Khambata said that he needed to take instructions and would file an affidavit by August 4. Meanwhile, the government has also approached the court seeking its permission to implement the new fares.
The state has said that a fare hike is due as the last one had been carried out two yeas ago. As per Hakim recommendations, auto and taxi fares are to be raised every May.
The matter will be heard next on August 4.