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Case title

National Highway Authority of India vs Madhukar Kumar

Key Takeaways

  • This case was heard by the bench of Justice KM Joseph and Justice S Ravindra Bhat.
  • According to the Rule 8 of National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 the toll plaza must be established 10 kilometres beyond the municipal or town areas and in no situation it can be established within a distance of 5 kilometres of municipal or town areas limit.

Background of the case

  • The respondents in this case filed the writ petition for restrain of the construction of the toll plaza in the four-laning of Patna-Bakhtiyarpur section of NH30.
  • The Patna High Court allowed the writ petition filed by the respondents and held that the construction of the toll plaza in the four-laning road of Patna-Bakhtiyarpur was in the violation of Rule 8 of National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008. According to the rule,a toll plaza should not be constructed within the distance of 10 kilometres of the municipal or town areas and in no condition it should be constructed within 5 kilometres of the municipal or town areas.
  • The first proviso of rule 8 states that the executing authority may locate or allow the concessionaire to locate the toll plaza within a distance of 10 kilometres of such municipal or town areas, but such reason shall be recorded in writing. In no condition the executing authority may give permission to locate the toll plaza within a distance of 5 kilometre of municipal or town areas.
  • The second proviso of rule 8 states that when a section of national highway, permanent bridge, by-pass or tunnel is constructed within a distance of 5 kilometre of the municipal or town areas mainly for the usage of the residents then the toll plaza may be constructed within the limits of the municipal or local town areas or within a distance of 5 kilometre of such municipal or town areas.
  • In the writ petition filed by the respondents it was mentioned that the respondent authority had not provided any specific reason to construct the toll plaza within the limits of municipal or town areas. It is also stated that the road in question was a national highway constructed for the use of the residents of municipal and local town areas and that the residents of the locality would face a lot of difficulties as they would be passing from that road many times in a day and every time they would be liable to pay the toll.
  • The writ petition filed by the appellant stated that the NHAI had already signed a concession agreement to construct the toll plaza and 60% work has been completed. Shifting the toll plaza in some other place would cause a lot of traffic and difficulties to the residents of the locality. It was further mentioned that the toll plaza was not in violation of rule 8 of National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 and even if it was within the limits of municipal or town areas limit it was already mentioned in the rule that if there is a section of national highway within the municipal or local town areas limit which is mainly in the use of the residents of locality then the toll plaza can be established within the limits of the municipal or town area. It was prayed by the appellants that the claims made by the respondent were unlawful.

Findings of the court

  • After hearing both the sides, the Court held that the construction of the toll plaza in the four lane road was not illegal and therefore, the Court set aside the order passed by the Patna High Court to shift the toll plaza to some other place.
  • The Court concluded that there were enough justifications that the toll plaza was not illegal and mere absence of the specific reason would not be sufficient to invalidate the action of public authority.
  • The court observed that “Undoubtedly, in India, every state action must be fair, failing which, it will fall foul of the mandate of Article 14. It is, at this juncture, we may also notice that the duty to give reasons, would arise even in the case of administrative action, where legal rights are at stake and the administrative actions adversely affects legal rights”

Hope you find the snippet informative.

Questions
1) Right of equality is granted in which five articles of Indian constitution?
2) What do you mean by concessionaire?

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