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Court to hear petition on private bus service today

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, JULY 26. A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court today adjourned to tomorrow the hearing on a petition seeking to declare private bus service as a public utility service.

A Bench in February 2004 had directed the State Government to take necessary steps as ordered in an earlier High Court verdict to declare the public transport sector, including bus service, as a public utility service to avert any possible ``threat to the public'' in the event of a strike by bus operators.

According to the petitioner, the Forum for the Protection of Human Rights, despite the direction, the Government was yet to declare the service as a public utility one. The Bench had also directed the State Government to take necessary steps to operate as many Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses to areas serviced by private buses during a strike period.

Earlier directive

The court had directed the Government to invoke Section 2(n)(vi) of the Industrial Disputes Act in this regard. According to the section, any industry could be declared a public utility service if the Government was satisfied that public emergency or public interest required so.

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