The Madras High Court has asked the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to provide a separate lane for Very Important Persons (VIP) at toll plazas on national highways, Times of India has reported. The court has threatened the body with contempt charges if its demand is not fulfilled.
A division bench of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice M V Muralidharan said that it was embarrassing for judges to wait at plazas and display identity documents. The bench also warned that it would issue show cause notices to all toll plaza authorities if the problem was not rectified. It demanded that a circular related to the matter should be issued to all toll authorities and its order should be implemented throughout the country.
“Any violation by NHAI would be viewed seriously,” it said. It said that VIPs and sitting judges would face ‘unnecessary harassment’ if the problem was not addressed.
This comes at a time when the country is seeing a decline in VIP culture. In May 2017, red beacons were eliminated by order of Modi government. Ambulances, army and fire service are allowed to use blue light. The prime minister had declared that every citizen is a VIP after the announcement was made. Special treatment at toll plazas is likely to give a fillip to VIP in the country.
All judges of the Supreme Court and various High Courts are currently exempt from paying toll on national highways.
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