NEW DELHI : The Delhi high court on Wednesday dismissed a writ petition seeking to challenge the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s proposal to make metro rides free for women.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar refused to entertain the petition, saying there was no substance in it, and imposed a cost of 10,000 on the petitioner.

The court said the petitioner was not able to point out any illegality in fixation of fares, adding the court will be “extremely slow" in fixing the fares for Delhi Metro which is a government prerogative.

The petitioner Bipin Bihari Singh wanted the court to intervene so that the Delhi government lowered fares rather than exempt them for women, citing the case of Mumbai Metro.

“A reasonable fare is much more respectable than free travel," the plea said.

“Fixation of fares is a statutory provision and it depends on several factors including cost which cannot be determined in public interest litigation," the court said.

The court was told by the Delhi government’s counsel Sanjoy Ghosh that the PIL was premature as the exemption was yet to be rolled out.

Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal last month announced that Metro and bus rides would be free of charge for women. The decision, which is likely to cost the government approximately 1,600 crore this year, was taken just months ahead of assembly elections due by February. The government aims to launch the initiative in the next two to three months and has invited suggestions from the public about its implementation .

The term of the Delhi government ends in February.

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