The proposed hike in Mumbai Metro Rail fares would not be implemented till February 11 as the Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing till then to enable the parties seek clarification from the Supreme Court.
Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) had earlier challenged the proposed metro hike in the high court.
In an interim order on December 17, the high court had stayed the proposed hike in fares of the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro Rail Corridor. Being aggrieved, Mumbai Metro One (MMOPL), a subsidiary of Reliance Energy, which operates the Metro, moved the Supreme Court challenging the stay.
The Supreme Court, on January 27, refused to interfere with the high court order, which had stayed the proposed hike till final hearing of petition on January 29. The matter was sent back to the high court for consideration. When the matter came up, the bench said it would hear both the parties today itself and dispose of the matter as directed by the apex court.
However, MMRDA and MMOPL lawyers Aspi Chinai and Prasad Dhakephalkar respectively sought time to seek clarification from the Supreme Court whether the final hearing was on the issue of interim relief or on the petition.
Accordingly, a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka adjourned the matter to February 11. The Supreme Court was of the view that since interim relief in the form of stay on the hike in Metro fares was given by the high court, only it should decide the issue. Hence, the apex court referred the matter back to high court.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam had also filed an intervention application challenging the hike. His plea has been taken up for hearing along with the petition filed by MMRDA. MMOPL, which is operating the Versova-Ghatkopar corridor, had earlier announced that it will increase the fares by Rs 5 from December 1, 2015.
Instead of the earlier slabs of Rs 10, 20, 30 and 40, the proposed new structure will have five slabs of Rs 10, 20, 25, 35 and 45.
However, MMRDA, which has commissioned the Mumbai Metro, challenged the hike alleging that the Centre was facilitating private profiteering by allowing multiple fare hikes. Nirupam demanded though his lawyer B A Desai that there should be a fare hike every four years, as per the agreement and not frequently.