Supreme Court relief to NHAI in NH-30 toll plaza case

By: |
September 24, 2021 4:15 AM

A Bench led by Justice KM Joseph, while setting aside the HC order, held that the construction of the toll plaza in the four-laning of Patna-Bakhtiyarpur section was “not illegal or arbitrary”.

It also directed the highway authority and the concessionaire to extend the fullest benefits of the concessions/ discounts for categories of persons exempted from the collection of fee, including local residents, under Rule 9.It also directed the highway authority and the concessionaire to extend the fullest benefits of the concessions/ discounts for categories of persons exempted from the collection of fee, including local residents, under Rule 9.

The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the Patna High Court’s decision that asked the NHAI to shift the toll plaza at milestone kilometre 194 on the Patna-Bakhtiyarpur four-lane road (NH-30) from Karmalichak near Deedarganj.

A Bench led by Justice KM Joseph, while setting aside the HC order, held that the construction of the toll plaza in the four-laning of Patna-Bakhtiyarpur section was “not illegal or arbitrary”.

The HC had ruled that the toll plaza on NH-30 was in the violation of fundamental rights of the aggrieved persons and had ordered the NHAI to shift it. The court had also found that toll plaza was within a municipal area under the Patna Municipal Corporation. It had said this violated Rule 8 of the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, which says that a toll plaza must be constructed beyond 10 km of a municipal or town area and should not be within five-kilometre limits.

The apex court said the NHAI shall look at the barricades (closing of service roads) with regard to the toll plaza and permit such barricades, like the fee plaza or any additional barrier within 10 kilometres from the fee plaza, to check the evasion of fee as permitted in Rule 17. Any unauthorised barricade has to be removed without delay within two weeks.

It also directed the highway authority and the concessionaire to extend the fullest benefits of the concessions/ discounts for categories of persons exempted from the collection of fee, including local residents, under Rule 9.

Residents of Deedarganj and other areas had moved the high court on the grounds that they will have to pay toll even for local movement on the four-lane road. They had contended that setting up the toll plaza at its present location would cause great difficulties to the residents as they will have to cross it on many occasions in a day, and will be liable to pay toll each time.

NHAI, on the other hand, had argued that the location of the toll plaza was selected after a detailed report to stop leakage of vehicles from the toll road, and had suggested that locals take an alternative route if they did not wish to pay toll. But the residents had said this would result in travelling for more than 35 km.

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