CHENNAI: The Madras High Court Tuesday ticked off state transporters for their failure to implement its 2016 order to procure disabled-friendly buses and sought a detailed report on their plans to abide by its old directions.
A bench of justices Vineeth Kothati and Anita Sumanth chided the Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Chennai and State Express Transport Corporation, saying they cannot be selective in implementing its orders.
The authorities must implement the order in letter and spirit, the bench said.
The bench made the observations while hearing a public interest lawsuit seeking the court's direction to authorities to equip all the state transport buses with various disabled people-friendly facilities like ramp etc.
The PIL had been filed by Chennai native L Muruganantham.
The counsel for the transport corporations sought some more time from the bench to get relevant information from the authorities, saying that the plea had come up for hearing after a long time and she needed time to get the latest information on the issue.
"We have already decided to ensure that 10 per cent of all new buses are disabled-friendly as per the Supreme Court directive," she said.
Advocate T Mohan, the amicus curie in a similar plea, however, pointed out to the court that through its April 6, 2016 order, the previous bench had categorically asked the state to ensure that all new buses be disabled-friendly.
At that time there were 4,500 buses, of which 3,700 were being used despite not having fitness certificates, he said.
Therefore, the court had directed the state to ensure that all new buses to be procured be disabled-friendly, Mohan said.
The bench wondered how a cap of only 10 per cent on procuring new disabled-friendly buses was fixed.
To this, the counsel submitted that the decision was taken on the basis of a recent apex court's directive.
The bench pointed out that unless the Supreme Court has passed its direction on an appeal against the high court's order, its old order has to be implemented fully.
The court then asked the corporations to file its detailed plan within two weeks to ensure that all buses are made disabled friendly.