"The prayer urging the government to roll back the fares has become infructuous as the ministry has gone back on its decision and decided to hike only marginally the ticket rates," a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka observed while disposing of the PIL filed by Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

As regards another prayer in the same PIL regarding appointing an authority to decide the fare structure, the bench asked the petitioner to make a representation to the ministry and gave them liberty to approach the High Court if their plea was not considered.

Yet another PIL on the same issue was adjourned to August 19 as the petitioner, Ketan Tirodkar, was not present.

Both the PILs sought a stay on the suburban rail fare hike done last month. However, bowing to public pressure, the government had rolled back the hike in fares and marginally increased the ticket rates.

 Tirodkar contended local trains are a lifeline of people of Mumbai metropolitan region as over 70 lakh commuters travel by them everyday.

Tirodkar's PIL pointed out that between 1996 to 2000, the fares for upper classes were hiked keeping 2nd class fares constant. The new rates would force commuters either not to travel by train or to travel without tickets, it said.

(Agencies)

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