Minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari.
Minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari.

Govt to urge Madras HC to review order on VIP lanes at toll plazas

The Madras HC had on 29 August directed the National Highways Authority of India to provide separate lanes at toll plazas for VIPs, including sitting judges, across the country

New Delhi: The Union government will challenge a Madras high court order to provide dedicated VIP lanes at toll plazas on national highways on the grounds that the move was difficult to implement due to space constraint and that it could revive the VIP culture, a government official said.

The court had on 29 August directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to provide separate lanes at toll plazas for VIPs, including sitting judges, across the country. “It is disheartening to note that the vehicles of VIPs and sitting judges are stopped at toll plazas... It is very unfortunate that sitting judges are also compelled to wait in the toll plaza for 10 to 15 minutes," said the high court in the interim order passed by a bench comprising justices Huluvadi G. Ramesh and M.V. Muralidharan last week.

A senior government official, however, said on condition of anonymity, “The government is going to request Madras high court to please review its decision as the implementation of the idea is not possible because of space constraints on highways. Besides, it will revive the VIP culture that the government is trying to end."

The government will propose VIPs and judges to be issued special stickers with which they can access FASTag lanes without having to paying toll.

Vehicles with FASTags affixed to the windscreen can pass through FASTag lanes without having to stop, as the toll charges are automatically deducted through radio-frequency identification technology (RFDI). Government rules exempt dignitaries or very important persons such as the President, Prime Minister, governors, chief justices and high court judges from having to pay toll tax on highways.

Minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has been trying to end the VIP culture on roads. Last year he ended the use of red-beacons on the cars of dignitaries and senior government officials.

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