The Kerala government is holding consultations with legal experts to change the law to allow passengers travel while standing in government buses, a Minister said on Friday.
"We have already consulted a few legal experts. We are speaking to more to see how best we can amend the laws in the wake of the Kerala High Court directive. We are exploring whether it is possible to allow passengers equivalent to 25 per cent of bus seating capacity to travel while standing. We are looking at various options," Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran told the media here.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Antony Dominic, acting on a petition filed by a social organisation, on Tuesday said that as per the Motor Vehicle Act, passengers should not be allowed to travel while standing. The HC was hearing a petition filed by a consumer group based in Pala called the Centre for Consumer Education. The group had moved the court, seeking that Motor Vehicles rules be strictly followed.
Saying that the passengers had the right to have seats in the bus, the HC bench ordered KSRTC to ensure that all the passengers get the facility to sit. The order is applicable in KSRTC's high-speed bus services including superfast and express. The court observed that passengers cannot be left standing after paying high prices for their tickets.
According to reports, the division bench said that the KSRTC should let passengers board the bus, only as per seat availability.
Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses (KSRTC) staff unions have opposed the judgment since the corporation, with accumulated losses of Rs 7,966 crore, is finding it tough to pay salaries and pensions.
Earlier this month, 40,000 KSRTC pensioners got pensions after almost six months after the government pumped in the money.