Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) and Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) (a joint venture between RInfra and MMRDA) have agreed to temporarily reduce the Mumbai Metro Rail fare till July 31 by when the Bombay high court decides on the issue.
Counsels for RInfra and MMOPL, Iqbal Chagla and Janak Dwarkadas respectively, informed a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice MS Sonak on Monday that they will maintain the fares at Rs 10 for 3 kms, Rs 15 for 8 kms and Rs 20 for 20 kms till July 31.
Accepting the statement, the HC has kept the matter for hearing on July 23.
The HC has also issued notices to the Central Government and the State urban development department to form the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC).
The HC is hearing an appeal filed by MMRDA challenging the previous single-bench order of the HC denying the State government the right to decide fares of the recently launched Mumbai Metro. MMRDA had previously challenged the fare hike announced by Reliance Infra.
Justice RD Dhanuka had last month dismissed MMRDA's petition on the grounds that MMOPL had the right to decide the initial fares till the Fare Fixation Committee arrived at a figure.
RInfra and MMOPL have contended that despite their communication to the authorities concerned in November 2013, the FFC has not been set up as yet.
On the other hand, counsel for MMRDA, Aspi Chenoy, argued that the FFC will be notified soon and within three months the fares will be fixed. Till then, the MMOPL could continue with the fares decided in their agreement, argued Chenoy.
According to MMRDA, the consortium had agreed on the structure under which fares were to be Rs Nine (upto 3 kms), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 kms) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 kms).
MMOPL has however fixed the initial fares as Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40.
The single judge, while refusing to stay the metro fares, had observed: "Perusal of the agreement (between the parties), indicates that the MMOPL is empowered to fix the fares till decided by the FFC. Prima facie, the fares at the time of opening is to be fixed by respondent 3 (MMOPL) and not by the state government."