Robin Bus Saga: Kerala High Court Slams KSRTC for Questioning MoRTH Rules

Discover the latest developments in the Kerala High Court case regarding the Robin bus saga following KSRTC’s legal plea to make amends in the AITP rules.

Robin Bus Saga: Kerala High Court Slams KSRTC for Questioning MoRTH

In the ongoing saga related to the Robin bus issue, the KSRTC took legal action by filing a petition with the Kerala High Court on Monday. The petition aimed to restrict the operation of All India Tourist Permit private buses and challenge specific provisions of the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023.

According to the KSRTC, these rules allowed private buses with All India Tourist permits to operate as stage carriers, picking up passengers along the way and issuing tickets while moving between two points.

Despite the filed petition, the Kerala High Court, while considering the plea, declined to halt private buses with AITP from operating on nationalized routes.

KSRTC’s Legal Maneuver in Response to the Robin Bus Saga

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s (KSRTC) legal plea comes as a consequential move in the aftermath of the Robin bus case that has captured public attention in the state.

The plea filed with the Kerala High Court is multifaceted, challenging certain provisions of the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023, related to the operation of AITP private buses.

Examining the Specifics of KSRTC’s Plea

The KSRTC’s plea primarily targets tourist buses operating under AITP, alleging that they are functioning as stage carriers by picking up and dropping passengers along the route. These buses conduct regular daily trips on specified routes, display destination boards, and individually determine fares based on the distance traveled.

This legal action stems from KSRTC’s recent stand-off with the price bus Robin, a scenario that has been making headlines in Kerala for the past month. In the plea, KSRTC draws attention to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which categorizes two types of permits for public service vehicles: stage carriers and contract carriages.

Recent amendments introduced by the Central Government in the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023, have triggered the KSRTC’s legal challenge.

The plea contends that although the rules explicitly define a tourist vehicle as a contract carriage, some operators exploit the provisions to operate their vehicles as stage carriages. This involves picking up and dropping passengers en route, contrary to the intended use of a contract carriage.

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Critical Elements Challenged by KSRTC in the Kerala High Court

The plea specifically challenges Rule 6(2), which allows the use of AITP for the individual transportation of tourists; Rule 10(1), permitting operators to enter separate contracts with passengers for distinct purposes and destinations; and Rule 13(1), exempting AITP holders from complying with the conditions of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules that prohibit stage carriage operations.

Read More: Simplified: The All India Tourist Permit Rules, 2023 for Private Buses

Response from the Kerala High Court and Case Status

During the court proceedings, Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh raised a pertinent question, questioning the KSRTC’s authority to challenge a central government amendment to the rules.

In response to this query, the Kerala High Court sought the input of the Central Government on the matter.

Hence, the case is scheduled for further consideration on December 18, 2023.


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