PIL challenges levy of surcharge since 1971 for every bus ticket
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) act has revealed that an amount of Rs 388.96 crore had been collected by charging 15 paise as surcharge for every bus ticket sold to the commuters. The surcharge was introduced in 1971 following the Indo-Pak war, to raise funds for providing relief to the Bangladeshi refugees.
Alleging that a 15 paise surcharge is being collected by the state, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed challenging the collection of the said surcharge on bus fare from every passenger. The PIL names the Thane Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and other transport bodies as the other respondents.
The petition claims that this amount was lying idle with the state government and was not being utilised for the purpose for which it was collected. The PIL further partially attributes the increase in the crime rate in the city to the act that the refugees were indulging in such activities and no relief was being given to them. The PIL has sought a direction to the authorities either to stop charging the 15 paise surcharge or use this amount for a noble cause such as tackling drought and malnutrition and protection of women. The Government is expected to file its response by January 24.