Mumbai: The stay on the fare hikes of Mumbai Metro will continue for another month with the Bombay High Court today rejecting a plea for early date and scheduled a bunch of petitions on the issue for hearing on March 18.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and C V Bhadang was hearing the petitions, including one by MMRDA, challenging the report of the Fare Fixation Committee as well as the proposal by R-Infra run Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) to hike fares.
The court was also hearing an intervening application filed by Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam challenging the fare hike. Nirupam's lawyer B A Desai sought an earlier date for final hearing which the court refused saying it has already scheduled several other PILs for hearing.
The High Court had, in an interim order on December 17 last, stayed the proposed hike in fares of the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro Rail Corridor. Aggrieved, MMOPL, a subsidiary of Reliance Energy, which operates the Metro, moved the Supreme Court challenging the HC stay.
The Supreme Court, on January 27 this year, refused to interfere with the HC order and asked the High Court to take up the matter for final hearing.
MMOPL today informed the High Court that its application seeking clarification from the Supreme Court whether the final hearing was on the issue of interim relief or on the petition will come up for hearing on March 16.
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 hike.