The Centre's policy of charging toll tax from vehicles has come under scrutiny of the Supreme Court which on Wednesday questioned the justification of imposing such charges on people when the government cannot provide smooth roads.
A bench of justices DK Jain and Anil R Dave directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to explain its policy for toll tax.
"What is your policy. Public must know about it. It (building roads) should not be only to help builders and contractors. I do not understand your policy. We want to know what is your policy. Why should people pay toll tax when there is no smooth driving on road," the bench said.
"See the condition of the road. It results in serious accident but traveller has to pay toll tax," it remarked.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO People's Voice seeking its direction to restrain the Centre from alleged arbitrary collection of toll tax on the country's national highways.
Although the PIL was focused on the toll tax collected on the NH-8 connecting Delhi with Gurgaon, the bench asked the petitioner to expand it by bringing within its purview the toll tax charged in other parts of the country also.
The Supreme Court bench expressed displeasure over the manner of collecting toll tax and said the government must reveal the policy.
"What is your policy. First you had eight lanes road. Now it is again being dug out to make a bridge over it. Travellers do not have smooth drive but you still charge toll tax. At every 10-15 kilometer you charge toll tax. It pinches the pocket of travellers," it said.
Advocate Bhim Singh, appearing for the NGO, pleaded that the arbitrary system of collecting toll fees has become a profitable venture at the cost of the commuters without any regulatory accountable regime.