The Delhi High Court yesterday (Wednesday, 13th May 2020) sought the responses of the central and Delhi governments on a plea seeking resumption of the public transport services in the city.
Most public transport has been suspended since the lockdown on March 25 although some services ran to ferry only those in essential services. During the third phase of the lockdown that began on May 4 and is scheduled to end on May 17, the central government had allowed considerable relaxations. This included allowing government and private offices but with only a third of its workforce.
However, much of the public transport system remained suspended forcing people to take to private vehicles and creating traffic snarls in many parts of the city. A bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Delhi government on the plea by law student Shreesh Chadha who also sought directions to frame guidelines for ensuring the safety and hygiene of the passengers while commuting.
The plea was filed through advocate Prashant Vaxish. It sought that the public transport be resumed while mandating social distancing norms.
Vaxish pointed out that data from the Supreme Court-appointed pollution monitoring committee Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority [EPCA], about 2.5 million people use the Delhi Transport Corporation buses every day. Similarly, the Delhi Metro records a ridership of 1.5 million daily. The counsel used these numbers to argue that the public heavily depended on public transport, in the absence of which they are left in the lurch.
He highlighted that people were suffering losses for not being able to attend their offices due to this. The counsels for both the Centre and the Delhi government accepted the notice following which the court posted the matter for May 20.