Plea in Telangana HC challenges free bus scheme for women

Hyderabad: A petition has been filed in Telangana High Court against the Mahalakshmi Scheme that allows women and transgender people to ride TSRTC buses free of cost in the state.

The petition was placed before the division bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Anil Kumar Jukanti.

The petitioner who brought the case claimed this Mahalakshmi Scheme goes against the Road Transport Corporation Act of 1950 and the Constitution. “It is submitted that free travel may not only create over flooding of commuters, it shall also encourage unnecessary travel at the cost of other passengers. Free travel creates a lot of inconveniences not only to non-free travel passengers but also to other genuine free travel passengers who use public transport as a mode of travel. it is further submitted that free travel increases the travel percentage as it increases unnecessary travel and that leads to increase in services to meet the eventually leading to additional pollution causing environmental crisis” the petition read.

According to the petitioner, the 1950 Act gives only the central government the power to make such rules. They also believe that the TSRTC’s job is to generate revenue by providing public transport service as stated in Section 22 of the Act, and Mahalakshmi is against it. “General principle of Corporation’s finance.—It shall be the general principle of a Corporation that in carrying on its undertaking it shall act on business principles,” reads Section 22 of the Act.

The petitioner told the court that it is unfair to offer free travel to just one section of society. Petitioner also mentioned that the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 that does not consider the Corporation’s bus services as essential public services as it offers many types of buses, from basic to very luxurious.