Chandigarh, December 8: The Punjab Government has made its intent clear to cancel approximately 13,000 bus permits in compliance with a Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment. As a bunch of petitions on the issue came up for resumed hearing, Punjab Additional Advocate-General Rameeza Hakeem told Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudip Ahluwalia that a new draft scheme in conformity with the directions contained in the judgment was notified on July 19. “The objections received in compliance thereto have since been considered and the authorities are in the process of issuing the final scheme for which four weeks are required,” Rameeza added.

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She also told the Bench that roughly 13,000 permits were required to be cancelled during the period in compliance with the directions in the judgment. “Such an exercise shall also be undertaken and completed,” she added.

Taking a note of the assertions, the Bench fixed the case for fourth week of February. The developments took place on petitions filed against the State of Punjab and other respondents by Surjit Singh Soeta and other petitioners through counsel RS Khosla.

The petitioners had last year claimed a nexus between politicians, transporters and officials of the Transport Department. They had contended that the move to vary the conditions of route permits, including extension and increase in trips, had not only come at the fag end of the previous government’s tenure, but was also contrary to the High Court judgment in the case of “Vijayant Travels and another versus the State of Punjab and others”.

The Bench was told that the High Court in the Vijayant Travels case had taken note of extensions in route permits. It could be extended up to 24 km as per legal provisions, but the routes over a period of time were repeatedly extended.
The State of Punjab made attempts to amend the scheme for making repeated extensions possible, but the move failed to find favour with courts. The matter was decided against the move up to the Supreme Court.

Elaborating upon the legal provisions, Khosla had added that more than one extension could not be permitted. Also, increase in the trips was not permitted, while the applications before the authorities concerned last year were for increasing the trips to double, even triple.

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