Delhi HC declines to issue mandamus prohibiting Delhi Government from procuring standard floor buses

Delhi High Court: The Bench comprising of the Rajendra Menon CJ.  and V. Kameswar Rao, J. dismissed a petition pertaining to seeking a direction/mandamus to explain the rationale behind respondent’s decision to procure “non-disabled friendly public transport standard floor buses.

The PIL was filed with a grievance of the petitioner that procuring only public transport standard floor buses amounts to mandatorily ignoring the rights of persons with disability and as disabled friendly access to low floor buses is more feasible, the mandamus as prayed for be issued and respondents be restrained from purchasing standard floor buses. Primarily the prayer of the petitioner was that the act of the government in procuring standard floor buses in comparison to low floor buses is unsustainable.

Further, it was noted on perusal of the records concerning the present matter that on 1 June 2018 a bench of Delhi High Court had passed the restraining order against the respondent from procuring the standard floor buses. Challenging the stated interim order of the Delhi High Court, a special leave petition was filed before the Supreme Court and the interim order was modified stating: “permitted procurement of 500 standard floor buses immediately pursuant to the tender issued and requested the parties to approach this Court for a decision with regard to the procurement of the remaining 500 buses.”

Further, the petitioner’s submission in regard to cabinet’s decision for procuring the standard floor buses is unsustainable as it not only violates the provisions of the Disability Act, 2016 but it is also in total disregard of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Rajive Raturi v. Union of India, (2018) 2 SCC 413.

The High Court on perusal of the record stated that the petitioners referred to the interim order of the Supreme Court and tried to indicate that the action to purchase the standard floor buses is unconstitutional, contrary to the requirement of law, violates the rights available to a differently abled person under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court on taking note of the case mentioned above was unable to accept the contention of the petitioner that the law laid down in the case was to make all public transport user-friendly or accessible to the differently-abled persons.

The Court stated that on a plain reading of the law laid down in the case of Rajive Raturi  it was clear that it accepted the stand of the Government that by March 2018, 10% of the buses being plied by the public transport undertakings would be made user-friendly for the differently abled persons.  Therefore, the Court saw no reason as to why it should issue a mandamus and prohibit the Government of NCT of Delhi from procuring further buses in pursuance of the tender in question that is 1000 standard floor buses.

The Court held that the present matter required no further directions to be issued. The petition was dismissed. [Nipun Malhotra v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine Del 12005, decided on 22-10-2018]

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