Kochi/Pathanapuram/Kottayam: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday refused to stop private buses with All India Tourist permits from operating nationalized route services while considering a petition filed by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh sought to know how the KSRTC could question the Central rules and adjourned the hearing for two weeks to facilitate the Central Government filing its stance on the matter.
Earlier the KSRTC moved the High Court, challenging certain provisions of the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023, that allowed buses with All India Tourist permits to operate as stage carriers, picking up passengers on the way and issuing them tickets while operating between two points.
The corporation filed the plea even as the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) repeatedly took action against private bus Robin which resumed service on the Pathanamthitta-Coimbatore route following a favourable court order. The KSRTC argued that the operation of such services by tourist vehicles without adhering to the rates, schedules, or timings fixed by the State Government violates the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
However, the court sought to know by word how it would amount to a law violation merely because the passengers booked the seats and the driver was in possession of their reservation chart. “How can the KSRTC question the Central rules in this regard,” it asked.
The tourist buses were plying in accordance with the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Act. For long, the taxes were paid separately in different states. Now, under the All India Tourist Permit (AITP 2023) Act, buses can take a permit online and operate services anywhere in the country.
Robin bus owner should approach the court: Ganesh Kumar
Meanwhile, K B Ganesh Kumar MLA opinioned that the owner of the Robin bus should approach court against the MVD hunt instead of raising a hue and cry. “What is the point in creating unnecessary ruckus? If the court allows, then the bus can be operated without any hurdle, right,” he asked.
Not Girish but Kishore the owner
K Kishore, who operates K P Travels, is the real owner of Robin bus and not Baby Gireesh, a native of Idamaruk near Pala, who cried foul against the frequent MVD actions.
Kishore said he entrusted Gireesh with the service operation five months ago. He was the real owner of the bus and that the RC ownership and permit of the vehicle were in his name, Kishore said, adding he paid the Rs 70, 000 fine levied by Tamil Nadu MVD the other day.
Gireesh too admitted to the same and said he was handed over the ‘power of attorney’ by Kishore and was entitled to even sell the bus.