New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay an Allahabad high court order declaring the Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) expressway toll free.

As a result, vehicle drivers using the expressway will continue to not pay toll charges for the next four months.

An audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the collection of toll from the expressway has been submitted to the court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar allowed for the matter to be mentioned after four weeks.

The court was hearing an appeal by Noida Toll Bridge Co. Ltd (NTBCL), the concessionaire for the DND flyway, against a 2016 Allahabad high court ruling.

On 26 October, justices Arun Tandon and Sunita Agrawal of the Allahabad high court had declared the highway toll free, in a 121-page ruling. The bench had said the levy of the toll on the 9.2 km eight-lane expressway was “unfair and unjust" and that users and commuters were being illegally taxed.

The high court also declared the clause allowing Noida Toll Bridge to collect toll as inoperative and bad in law. It said that the method of calculating the total project cost of the expressway was arbitrary and against public policy.

Petitioner group Noida Residents’ Welfare Association had challenged the levy of Rs25 for cars and Rs12 for two-wheelers.

In November, the apex court had asked CAG to check gains made by NTBCL, while refusing to grant an interim stay against the high court ruling.

Noida Toll Bridge recovered Rs810.18 crore from toll income since the commencement of the expressway till 31 March 2014. Approximately Rs300 crore more was realized through user fee or toll between 1 April 2014 and 30 September 2016.

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