‘Implementation of project can’t be called irrational’

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition by a non-government organisation seeking a direction to open up the dedicated 5.6. km BRT corridor between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand crossing in South Delhi to other motorised vehicles along with buses, saying that it would not interfere with the policy matter aimed at promoting public transport as it was neither illegal nor arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Describing an argument by the petitioner Nyaya Bhoomi that road space should be allotted to motorised vehicles according to their numbers and that car owners should be provided uninterrupted driving on the carriageway along the corridor to avoid wastage of time as they created wealth for the country as elitist, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Manmohan Singh said: “The scattered evidence placed before us, taken together, clearly suggests that the Government has taken a conscious decision that road space should be made freely available to the entire citizenry.’’

“The policy promotes the interest of the general public rather than to distribute public space for restrictive private benefit,’’ the Bench added.

The Bench also did not agree with the finding of the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) of an experiment of allowing a mixed traffic in the corridor on a Court direction saying that its sample size was small. The CRRI had said that the traffic was smoother when the corridor was opened up for other motorised traffic during the experiment.

“Within the parameters of a scope of judicial review, the scattered material placed before us would not justify a conclusion that BRT as a concept is bad and is a misfit in Delhi and thus should be scrapped,’’ the Bench said.

Stressing the need for shifting to public transport in view of the infeasibility of expanding the width of roads in the city, the Bench said: “Even if we were to accept the argument that as of today, with the implementation of BRT corridor some inconvenience is being caused, across the board, to everybody…..there being no scope to expand the width of the existing roads and the population of Delhi continuously in the increase, we see no escape from the fact that the citizens of Delhi have to, one day or the other, use public transport. On said reason also it cannot be said that implementation of BRT corridors in the city of Delhi is an irrational decision.’’

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