Madras High Court says no to use of OTP/PIN while using FASTag at toll plazas

TAMIL NADU
Madras High Court says no to use of OTP/PIN while using FASTag at toll plazas
File photograph used for representational purposes only
File photograph used for representational purposes only | Photo Credit: C. VENKATACHALAPATHY
Legal Correspondent
CHENNAI 23 JULY 2020 16:42 IST
UPDATED: 23 JULY 2020 16:42 IST

The Court rejected the petitions filed by Kabilan Manoharan who contended that failure to provide Additional Factor Authorisation such as OTP/PIN might lead to indiscriminate deduction of money from the accounts of people
The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed two cases that had challenged the implementation of FASTag, an electronic mode of toll collection using radio frequency identification technology, without providing One Time Password (OTP)/Personal Identification Number (PIN) authorisation facility, before deducting money.

Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy rejected the petitions filed by Kabilan Manoharan who contended that failure to provide Additional Factor Authorisation (AFA) such as OTP/PIN might lead to indiscriminate deduction of money from the accounts of people even when they do not cross toll plazas. He claimed that ₹55 was charged from his FASTag prepaid wallet for having crossed a toll plaza at Sriperumbudur at around 1 a.m. on November 25 though on that day his car was actually parked at his residence at T. Nagar in Chennai and he was fast asleep at home. He came to know about the deduction only on receipt of a SMS.

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Rebutting his claim, Additional Solicitor General R. Shankaranarayanan and Reserve Bank of India counsel Chevanan Mohan told the court that the intention behind the introduction of electronic RFID-based toll collection was to avoid queuing up of vehicles at toll plazas. This purpose would be defeated if the AFA was insisted upon.

Accepting their submissions, the first Bench said: “We do not find anything arbitrary or capricious in the AFA relaxation granted as regards transactions in the National Electronic Toll Collection system. Infact… the NETC system would not serve the intended purpose of seamless travel if the AFA requirement is insisted upon by the RBI.

“There could be other benefits too of an AFA-exempt NETC system such as potential fuel cost savings over a period of time and consequential foreign exchange savings. Besides, the transaction value or ticket size of toll payments is small. The risk and cost benefit analysis underlying such calibrated decisions are best left to the wisdom of expert institutions such as the RBI.”

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