Madras HC stops OMCs from hiking diesel prices for public transport buses

The Madras High Court on Thursday restrained the oil marketing companies from charging higher price for diesel from state transport corporations in Tamil Nadu till 12 April.

The interim injunction was granted by Justice S Rajeswaran on the petition by the chairman of state transport undertakings challenging the petroleum ministry's decision to charge bulk consumers more as per its new dual pricing policy.

In its plea, the state argued that its transport corporations were not profit-making ventures but an essential service used by more than 20 million middle class and poor people every day.

Before 18 January, state transport corporations were supplied diesel at a rupee less than what was charged from retail customers, but they are now asked to pay about Rs11 more than retail customers on the "incorrect and imaginary premise that they could afford to bear the burden of market price or that they could pass the additional burden on to end customers", the petition said.

"But the transport corporations cannot pass on the additional burden to commuters."

The judge also ordered issue of notice to the petroleum ministry and the managing directors of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Indian Oil Corp Ltd, returnable by 12 April.