Bomby HC seeks Centre response on PIL against FASTag, seeking option of cash for toll payment

THE BOMBAY High Court on Wednesday directed Ministry of Road Transport and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to respond to a PIL challenging the decision of making FASTag, which is fitted in a vehicle that automatically pays toll when a vehicle crosses the boom barrier of a toll plaza, mandatory for all vehicles.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni on Wednesday was hearing the PIL filed last week by Arjun Khanapure, a businessman from Pune, challenging circulars that mandated double fee instead of actual fee for single journey as a penalty for vehicles without FASTag.

Khanapure, through his plea, sought a lane for cash payment and rest for FASTag for commuters at all toll plazas.

Advocate Uday Warunjikar for the petitioner said the provision of FASTag is creating problems for those not comfortable with technology, and that the authorities arbitrarily replaced the cash counter or cash lane into FASTag scanner at toll plazas on all national and state highways, and, therefore, leaving no scope for cash payment.

The PIL said though the authorities made a provision for FASTag since 2016, many are still not comfortable with the technology. They are unable to maintain a FASTag account and, hence, prefer to pay cash at toll plazas.

The PIL, pending hearing, also sought stay on the circulars issued by the government on February 12 and 14 making FASTag mandatory. Directing the central government authorities to file affidavits in reply to the PIL, the bench posted further hearing to March 17

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