It is embarrassing for VIPs and sitting judges to have to wait at toll plazas and display identity documents, a division bench of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice M V Muralidharan said.
Warning that the court would issue show-cause notices to all authorities concerned unless the problem was rectified, the bench also made it clear that its order would be applicable nationwide: “Serious note should be taken throughout the country to provide separate lanes (at toll plazas) for vehicles of VIPs including sitting judges,” the bench said, directing the Centre and NHAI to issue a circular to this effect.
“A circular may be issued to each toll collector to provide a separate lane for VIPs’ and sitting judges’ vehicles,” the judges said, adding that the toll collectors should ensure that no vehicle other than those of VIPs and sitting judges should be allowed to use these special lanes. “Any violation of the order by NHAI will be viewed seriously.”
Unless there is a separate lane at every toll plaza, VIPs and sitting judges would continue to face “unnecessary harassment” that would amount to contempt by NHAI, they said.
HC: Unfortunate that judges made to wait at toll plazas for 15 minutes
The judges said,“It is disheartening to note that vehicles of VIPs and sitting judges are stopped at toll plazas (for the occupants to present) identity documents, causing a lot of embarrassment.”
“It is very unfortunate that sitting judges are also compelled to wait at toll plazas for 10 to 15 minutes (and that this issue) has not been taken seriously by the Union government and NHAI.”
Posting further hearing of the case to four weeks from Wednesday, the judges said: “People maintaining toll plazas shall not indulge in controversy (regarding) VIPs’ and sitting judges’ vehicles without understanding the ramifications.”
The bench passed the order while hearing a batch of pleas, including one moved by L&T Krishnagiri Walajahpet Tollway Ltd (L&T KWTL), seeking that the court direct the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) Ltd, Villupuram, and TNSTC, Salem division, to pay toll fees.