New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition challenging the authorities’ decision to permit 100 per cent seating in Delhi Metro and buses plying in the national capital during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is for the competent authorities to take a call on regulation of public transport.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said if every user of public transport or citizen is permitted to raise such issues and challenge the government decision, there would be no end to such petitions.
The bench said it is a policy decision taken by the competent authorities after examining the situation and the court cannot interfere with it.
The court said there was no merit in the petition challenging a July 24 order of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Delhi government, which permitted 100 per cent sitting capacity in Delhi Metro as well as DTC and cluster buses.
It dismissed the plea filed by S B Tripathi, who travels by public transport and claimed the government’s decision violated his fundamental right to life since such high seating capacity in Delhi Metro and buses would expose him to dangers of contracting COVID-19.
The petitioner said DDMA’s same order permits bars and restaurants to function with 50 per cent seating capacity and the decision to allow 100 seating capacity in public transport is irrational.
On this, the bench said the rationale behind 50 per cent seating capacity in bars and restaurants is that persons who go there are permitted to consume eatables, which is not the case in Delhi metro and buses where passengers have to keep their masks on the whole time.
To avoid over-crowding, the authorities have not permitted passengers to travel while standing, it said, adding that if the petitioner has issues with the decision, he shall not travel by Metro.
It is for the competent authorities charged with the responsibility of administration to take an informed call on matters regarding regulation of public transport and opening and running of markets, restaurants, bars and cinema halls, the bench said.
It added, Today this petitioner is suggesting that metro/ buses shall run with 50 per cent capacity, tomorrow another person will say no this is too much, make it 30 or 20 per cent. This cannot be permitted.