Mumbai: In a unique stand, the Brihanmumbai Electronic Supply Transport (BEST) has told the Bombay High Court that no citizen has a fundamental right to travel via Air Conditioned (AC) buses. This stand was taken by the BEST in its affidavit filed in the HC, last week.
The undertaking through its Deputy Chief Manager – Chandrashekhar H Rane, filed n affidavit before a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar. The affidavit was filed in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the BEST’s April 2017 decision to stop the AC buses across the city.
The PIL filed by B.B. Shetty through his advocate V.P. Patil has challenged the decision to stop plying of AC buses on city’s roads. The BEST had stopped the buses citing the hefty losses it had to suffer due to the AC buses. In the affidavit, Rane has said, “I categorically deny that the petitioner have any fundamental rights to have AC buses in the city of Mumbai.”
The affidavit also claims that the BEST has incurred a loss to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore since 2012 – 2016, however there is no specific mention to the losses incurred because of the AC buses. While speaking with the Free Press Journal, advocate Patil said, “The BEST’s affidavit is misleading to the specific clause that claims that the citizens have no fundamental rights to have AC buses. The schedule 12 of the Constitution of India, that covers public convenience, lists bus stops as the 17th item. This means that buses are fundamental rights of the citizens.”
“If the BEST has the audacity to claim that citizens have no fundamental rights, then it should understand that its officials also have no right to keep the undertaking in losses. They must clarify why there was loss to such an extent and what action the BEST has initiated to bring down the hefty amount,” Patil said. Patil has prepared a reply in response to the BEST’s affidavit to counter the undertaking’s stand. This matter is likely to be taken up for hearing by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur on August 29.