The Supreme Court has agreed to a plea of Noida Toll Bridge Company Limited challenging Allahabad High Court's order scrapping the toll-tax collection from commuters plying on the DND flyway connecting Delhi and neigbouring Noida.
An apex court bench comprising justices A R Dave, R K Agrawal and A M Khanwilkar agreed to hear the appeal of the toll company after senior advocate Shyam Divan sought an urgent hearing of the matter.
The high court had yesterday brought cheers to millions of commuters in the NCR region ruling that there will be no toll collected henceforth from those using the 9.2 km-long, eight-lane Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) flyway. The order was passed as the high court allowed a PIL by the Federation of Noida Residents' Welfare Association.
The PIL, which was filed in 2012, had challenged the "levy and collection of toll in the name of user fee by Noida Toll Bridge Company".
In an over 100-page judgement, the high court had held, "the user fee which is being levied/realised is not supported by the legal provisions relied upon by the Concessionaire (Noida Toll Bridge Company), Infrastructure Leaning and Financial Services (promoter and developer of the project) and the Noida Authority."
It had said that the "right to levy and collect user fee from the commuters as conferred upon the Concessionaire under the concession agreement suffers from excessive delegation and is contrary to the provisions UP Industrial Development Act".
It had noted that "the Concessionaire, according to their own financial statements, has recovered Rs 810.18 crore (approx) from toll income from the date of commencement of the project till March 31, 2014 and after deduction of operation and maintenance expenses and corporate income tax, the surplus was Rs 578.80 crore (computed before interest, depreciation, and lease rental received by the Concessionaire)".
"They have further realised user fee/toll two-and-a-half years thereafter between April 1, 2014 and September 30, 2016 which, as per the collection of user fee in the year 2013-14 would work out to an additional sum of Rs 300 crore (approx).
"We are, therefore, more than satisfied that the Concessionaire cannot now recover the user fees from the users/commuters of the Noida Toll Bridge the DND Flyover," the high court had said.
The DND Flyway - which is one of the better-run toll plazas - connects Delhi on the west bank of the Yamuna with Noida and East Delhi.
It has witnessed several protests and demonstrations seeking scrapping of the Rs. 28 toll following allegations that the operator of the 9.2-km-long stretch (including the Mayur Vihar link) has already made significant profits.
The DND flyway is used by around 1,25,000 vehicles on a weekday. On an average, the NTBCL collects around Rs 25 lakh daily as toll, with private cars paying Rs 28 and two-wheelers coughing up Rs 12 per trip.