Take action against illegal toll collection: HC to TN govt

Chennai: The Tamilnadu Government was yesterday ordered by the Madras High court to curb unauthorised toll fee and parking collection at all municipal and other areas.

The direction was given by Justice R Mahadevan while disposing of a petition by the hereditary managing trustee of Om Sri Bhavani Amman temple at Periyapalayam in Tiruvallur district.

According to the petitioner, illegal collection of toll and parking fees for vehicles commuting through the Periyapalayam Village was being collected by a contractor.

He submitted the contractor who was awarded the contract for collection of parking charges during festival period by the temple was continuing to charge exorbitant rates beyond it and even collected toll for vehicles passing through Periyapalayam. The petitioner further claimed the amount collected did not go to the Panchayat Union Council, and hence sought a direction to the authorities to restrain the contractor from collection of any fee illegally.

State government was ordered to instruct district collectors to conduct an inspection to ascertain whether such fee was being levied and take action against unauthorised collection.

He made it clear that any lapse on the part of the district officials, including the Collector and the Superintendent of Police, in taking action against erring persons or officials would be viewed seriously.

Justice Mahadevan observed none of the acts related to muncipalities and panchayats and the town and country planning provided for collection of tolls for the vehicles entering the area under the control of the local bodies. Only under the Indian Tolls Act, 1851, as amended by the state governments, tolls can be collected by the state, that too, by the prescribed procedures as per the act. He posted the matter after 12 weeks for compliance.

NT Bureau