KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday set aside the May 6, 2008, government notification excluding private bus operators from operating services on nationalised routes.

Justice Antony Dominic, while setting aside the clauses 4 and 19 of the notification, observed that the restrictions imposed in the notification were in violation of the principles of natural justice.

The court passed the verdict while allowing a batch of writ petitions filed by private bus operators challenging the notification. According to them, the draft notification had said that no permit issued after May 9, 2006, would be renewed. However, the final notification said that permits issued after April 18, 2007, would not be renewed.

It was also made clear that the permits issued before April 18 would be renewed only after getting a no-objection certificate from the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation.

The court observed that the bus operators did not get an opportunity to file objections to the changes carried out in the final notifications. Therefore, the government action had violated the principles of natural justice. The government had introduced different clauses in the final notification without mentioning valid reasons, the court noted.

However, the court said that the verdict would not stand in the way of the government publishing a fresh notification.

Abhaya case adjourned

The court adjourned to August 4 further hearing on a petition seeking to expedite the investigation into the death of Sister Abhaya. Justice V. Ramkumar said that the petition could be heard only after meticulously viewing the CD given by the CBI. The CBI had handed over a CD containing the narco analysis test on the suspects in a sealed cover.

Golf Club case

Justice S. Siri Jagan posted to July 31 the hearing in the Trivandrum Golf Club take-over case. The case was adjourned on the request of the counsel of the petitioner, the Trivandrum Golf Club members.

Hartal

The government told the court that a meeting convened by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had expressed its anxiety over the increasing number of hartals in the State.

The meeting felt the people should strengthen the hands of the police and the government in tackling the problem. In an affidavit filed in response to a contempt petition, the government said that bus operators would be informed that during hartals, the police were ready to provide protection for operating services.

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