The Kerala High Court on 21st November, 2023, refused to stop private buses with All India Tourist permits from operating nationalised route services while considering a petition filed by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh sought to know how the KSRTC could question the Central rules and adjourned the hearing for two weeks to facilitate the Central Government filing its stance on the matter.
Earlier the KSRTC moved the High Court, challenging certain provisions of the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023, that allowed buses with All India Tourist permits to operate as stage carriers, picking up passengers on the way and issuing them tickets while operating between two points.
The corporation filed the plea even as the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) repeatedly took action against private bus Robin which resumed service on the Pathanamthitta-Coimbatore route following a favourable court order.
The KSRTC argued that the operation of such services by tourist vehicles without adhering to the rates, schedules, or timings fixed by the State Government violates the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
However, the court sought to know by word how it would amount to a law violation merely because the passengers booked the seats and the driver was in possession of their reservation chart. "How can the KSRTC question the Central rules in this regard," it asked.
The tourist buses were plying in accordance with the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Act. For long, the taxes were paid separately in different states. Now, under the All India Tourist Permit (AITP 2023) Act, buses can take a permit online and operate services anywhere in the country.