The Maharashtra government may not be able to implement the taxi and auto fare hike from July 10 after the high court refused to hear its application on Monday.
A division bench of justices Abhay Oka and AS Chandurkar said that there was no urgency in the matter and that the government had failed to file proper application seeking its (HC's) approval for implementing the fare hike.
State officials on June 20, had decided on a fare hike of Rs2 from the current flag down rate of Rs15 and Rs11.33 increase for every subsequent km, up from the current Rs9.87. The hike for taxis was also set at Rs2 from the current Rs19 to Rs21.
The HC questioned as to why the government had not filed a proper application even though it had decided to hike the fare on June 20. "You (government) took the decision on June 20. Still you did not file an application till July 4. You knew you had to seek HC approval before implementing the fare hike," said justice Oka.
Government had filed the application only in July 4 seeking HC approval for fare hike.
Following a PIL by Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, the HC had stayed the fare hike in 2012. Hence the government cannot implement the fare hike without the permission of the HC to ensure that it is not termed as contempt of court.
Apart from the government, even the Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union has approached the HC seeking implementation of the fare hike as proposed by the Hakim Committee, on the grounds that its members are finding it difficult to sustain themselves.
The autowallas's contention is that with the price of compressed natural gas has gone up from Rs33.05 to Rs38.95 a litre, since the last fare hike in October 2012. This has been coupled with a hike in the cost of living as well maintenance of vehicles, state their application.
"There is an urgent and imminent need for increasing the fares of taxis and autos as cost of various items has increased. Hence the members of the union are finding it difficult to sustain themselves," states the application filed by advocate GS Hegde.