HC asks Centre to respond to PIL challenging FASTag rule for vehicles

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Mumbai, Mar 19 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Union government to file an affidavit in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the decision to make FASTag, the electronic toll collection chip, mandatory for all vehicles at toll plazas on national highways.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni asked the government if there was any law that said all toll plazas at national highways across the country will only have FASTag lanes.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Arjun Khanapure, challenging the decision of making FASTag compulsory.

The plea also challenged the government's rule of imposing fines on vehicles flouting the FASTag rules.

The petitioner's counsel Uday Warunjikar told the High Court that not all citizens were comfortable with technology.

The Union government had given a short notice for vehicles to get FASTag chips fitted, he said, adding that vehicles that did not have FASTag, but entered the designated lane, were required to pay double the toll amount on national highways.

However, the Union government did not have any valid power to impose such a fine, Warunjikar said.

The court then sought to know from the Centre whether in light of the above provision on fines, some lanes on highways would be reserved for vehicles without FASTag, or if there had been any amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Act or other existing laws to make all lanes FASTag ones.

The Union government's counsel Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that the FASTag system had been implemented to prevent traffic jams at toll plazas across the country.

Special booths had been set up and marshalls had been deployed at most toll plazas to help citizens get FASTag chips installed for their vehicles, he said.

The High Court said it will consider all contentions in the next hearing on April 7, and directed the government to file its affidavit within two weeks. PTI AYA ARU ARU