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Plea rejected, FASTag payment to continue
The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed a couple of public interest litigations against FASTag in toll plazas without implementing the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guideline of using Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) to confirm a financial transaction by way of entering One Time Password (OTP).
The first bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, holding that the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) system would not serve the intended purpose of seamless travel if the AFA requirement is insisted by the RBI, said: “In specific, it would entail the stopping of each vehicle at the toll plaza and thereby there would be no improvement over the former system.”
Further, pointing out that the risk and cost-benefit analysis underlying such calibrated decisions are best left to the wisdom of expert institutions such as the RBI, the bench said: “There could be other benefits too of an AFA-exempt NETC system such as potential fuel cost savings over a period of time, and the consequential foreign exchange savings.”
“We conclude that the policy decision of RBI to relax the AFA requirement in respect of payments in the NETC system is not arbitrary and, on the contrary, appears reasonable,” the bench added.
The petitioner, Kabilan Manoharan, had contended that absence of AFA had led to him being charged Rs 55 from his FASTag prepaid wallet for having crossed a toll plaza at Sriperumbudur at around 1 am on November 25, when his car was parked in his residence at T Nagar.