HC sets aside norms for access permission for fuel stations

The Kerala High Court has set aside government guidelines on granting access permission for setting up fuel stations along the State highways and major district roads.

The verdict was passed on a batch of writ petitions filed by some of the oil-marketing companies and their franchisees challenging the guidelines, which include minimum plot size and ban on fuel stations within a certain distance from the road junctions. According to the petitioners, the guidelines were framed and approved without giving any opportunity to the stakeholders. The guidelines were identical to the Indian Road Congress standards which were withdrawn by the Centre.

The State government contended that the guidelines were formulated, taking into account the safety of road users and smooth flow of traffic along the State highways and major district roads.

The court observed that the procedure adopted by the State government in framing the guidelines was wanting in many aspects. The expert committee which recommended the guidelines had not considered any empirical data. Nor the stakeholders, including oil marketing companies, were consulted. When the government adopted an executive route and that too abandoning an available statutory route, there should have been effective consultation at least with the important stakeholders.

The guidelines have far-reaching civil consequences for the oil marketing companies and their franchisees as it would adversely affect their right to establish fuel stations complying with the existing law and rules, the court pointed out.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 11:18:40 PM |

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