Very Important Persons (VIPs) and judges will get a separate lane at toll plazas, thanks to the Madras High Court. Why? Because waiting 10 to 15 minutes in queue appears to be an inconvenience for judges and VIPs.
On Wednesday, the Madras High Court ordered the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to provide a separate lane for judges and VIPs at toll plazas. In its order, the High Court bench comprising of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and MV Muralidharan directed NHAI to allow the vehicles of judges and VIPs to use the lane earmarked for emergency vehicles. Stating that it is embarrassing to be stopped at toll plazas to produce identity documents, the judges said, “It is very unfortunate that sitting judges are also compelled to wait at toll plazas for 10 to15 minutes [and that this issue] has not been taken seriously by the Union government and NHAI.”
The judges ordered the NHAI to permit judges’ vehicles to pass through the lanes dedicated for emergency vehicles. It also said that failing to comply with this order of the court will lead to initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the NHAI.
The bench also observed that this order will be applicable across the country and that the court would issue show cause notices to those who do not abide by this order. The court then directed the Central government and the NHAI to issue circulars to this effect and said that any violation by the NHAI would be taken seriously by the court.
The High Court was hearing a case pertaining to the toll dues payable to NHAI by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC). Among the petitioners was L&T Krishnagiri Walajahpet Tollway Ltd (L&T KWTL), seeking direction against the Villupuram and Salem divisions of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) Ltd to pay toll fees.
It was during the proceeding, the bench raised question over whether the toll plazas are following the rule that dedicated lanes are to be made for emergency vehicles. It was then that the judges expressed their contempt at the way the vehicles of judges are treated by the staff at the toll booth.