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NTC agrees not to issue new bus licences till September 8

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The National Transport Commission (NTC) yesterday (10) agreed with the Court of Appeal to maintain the existing situation until September 8, without opening the tenders called for issuing passenger transport licences for buses on 62 routes including expressways.

This agreement was expressed when four writ petitions filed against the call for tenders related to the granting of 142 passenger transport licences for roads including highways were called, before the Acting President of the Court of Appeal Sobitha Rajakaruna and Justice M.A.R. Marikkar.

The state counsel who appeared on behalf of the National Transport Commission said that since the Deputy Solicitor General who was appearing in these petitions was unable to attend the court and therefore these petitions should be called on another day. She also mentioned that according to the agreement reached before the Court of Appeal regarding the petitions not to open the relevant tenders, they will proceed until the next court date.

President’s Counsel Manohara De Silva, who appeared on behalf of the petitioner, asked court to extend the order given by the Court of Appeal on August 2 until the next Court date.

President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardene and counsel Rajeev Amarasuriya, who appeared for the petitioners, also brought the matter to the attention of the Bench. Accordingly, after considering the facts, the Bench decided to recall this petition on September 8.

This petition complained that the National Transport Commission had called for tenders for issuing 142 passenger transport licences related to 62 roads including expressways. Inter-Provincial Private Bus Association, its President Vijitha Kumara and its Secretary Manjula Perera and M. Yamuna, D.M.C. Priyankara and others who owned the licence for expressway transport buses filed these four petitions. They named National Transport Commission and ten persons including its Chairman Shashi Welgama and its General Manager Nilan Miranda as respondents in the petitions.

The National Transport Commission had published an advertisement calling for tenders related to the granting of transport licences for private buses on expressways and other roads. Accordingly, the tenders received were scheduled to be opened on August 3. These petitions were filed challenging the said tender process.

The petitioners complained that proper evaluation was not done before calling these tenders. They also complained that the relevant tenders were open to anyone, thereby causing injustice to those holding transport licences. It also complained that according to the conditions related to the call for tenders, some people who currently hold road passenger transport licences have lost the opportunity to apply for the extension of those licences.

Therefore, these petitions requested the Court to cancel the relevant tender call and invalidate the newspaper announcement calling for bids. The petitions have also requested to issue a writ preventing further steps including the appointment of a technical evaluation committee regarding the currently called tenders.

When these petitions were called on August 2, the National Transport Commission agreed before the Court not to open the relevant tenders.

According to the advice of Eranda Warnasinghe and Rizvi Bacha Law Firm, Sumudu Nanayakkara and Rajeev Amarasuriya appeared for two petitions, while President’s Counsels Sanjeeva Jayawardena and Manohara de Silva appeared for the rest of the petitioners.


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