The Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, gave a green signal to hike the fare of taxis and auto in the city. The minimum auto fare would now go up from Rs 15 to Rs 17, while minimum taxi fares would increase from Rs 19 to Rs 21.
The new fare will be implemented from Tuesday midnight. The new rates would not be applicable if the meter in the auto and taxi is not calibrated and shows the old fare. Revised fare is provisional to recalibate meters and the court has granted 45 days to recalibrate meters.
The bench also said that the state had a right to suggest an increase in fares. "If a technical decision has to be taken, it should be left to the experts and the High Court should not interfere in such cases," it said.
The Mumbai Taximen's Union on July 4, 2014 had moved the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority (MMRTA) to implement its decision to allow hiking fares of auto rickshaws and taxis plying in the city, besides Thane and Navi Mumbai.
A division bench of justices Abhay Oka and AS Chandurkar on Monday had directed the state to give an undertaking that they will not enforce the fare hike till the time they ensure that all the meters are calibrated. The state transport department had planned to implement the fare hike for autorickshaws and taxis from July 10.
The Hakeem Committee, which laid down the formula for calculation of autorickshaw and taxi fares, had recommended that the fares be hiked on an annual basis in May.
Advocate General Darius Khambata argued that the hike was reasonable and should be allowed to implement it.
Uday Warunjikar, lawyer for the consumer body, argued that MMRTA was only an implementing authority and it could not give suggestions for a fare hike.
However, the Advocate General argued that MMRTA could also give suggestions and it was up to the Government to accept or reject them.