CMRL has no authority to penalise mask-less commuters: Madras HC – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) cannot levy 200 as penalty on commuters found without masks, as the Madras high court has restrained CMRL from doing so for want of authority.
“The best-intentioned actions, not backed by the authority of law, cannot stand. Though the intention of CMRL is laudable, it lacks authority to impose and collect fines,” the court said on Thursday.
The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu, passing orders on a PIL moved by advocate R Muthukrishnan, said: “…the authority to impose such a penalty could not have been appropriated by the CMRL without the law governing the CMRL expressly conferring jurisdiction on such a body to impose a penalty.”
If at all, the state may have imposed such a penalty, assuming that the ordinance and the subsequent enactment were and are valid by treating a metro station and metro coach as public places.
However, just because the state had the authority to impose the penalty, it would not imply that CMRL could draw therefrom or had the power or jurisdiction to impose such a fine, however well-intentioned the same may have been, the court added.
As to 87,000 penalty already collected by CMRL, the court said, “Since the quantum appears to be rather meagre, CMRL is permitted to retain the amount.”