Karnataka High Court Questions NHAI on Toll For Farmers

Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) filed a Public Interest Litigation in Karnataka High Court. The PIL pertains to rural distress caused due to the lockdown. A bench comprising of Chief Justice A.S. Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna heard the petition. The petitioner submitted copies of representations made by various bodies.

These bodies represented the farmers involved in agricultural, horticultural and floricultural operations. The Bench noted that there are orders by the State Governments as well as the Central Government. These orders permit various operations by farmers including transport and sale of the produce. It stood convinced about the several issues faced by farmers. Hence, the Court asked National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to inform as to whether any concession on tolls can be made for farmers during the lockdown period.

The Karnataka High Court also issued directions to the State Government. The Court opined that the State must address grievances of farmers towards the implementation of Central and State Government guidelines. This should be done at all the grass root, district and taluk level.  The High Court further issued directed the State to inform the Court on May 05, 2020, regarding the establishment of any such machinery. Evidently, this comes as a positive step towards providing relief to distressed farmers all over the country amid the lockdown.