Chennai: The Madras high court on Monday (June 10) directed the Tamil Nadu government to take action against those indulging in unauthorised collection of toll and parking fee in all municipal and other areas.

Justice R Mahadevan directed the government to instruct district collectors to inspect and ascertain whether such fees were being imposed and take action against unauthorised collection.

He made it clear that any lapse on the part of the district officials, including the Collector and the Superintendent of Police, in taking action against failing persons or officials would be viewed seriously.

The judge was disposing of a petition by the hereditary managing trustee of Om Sri Bhavani Amman temple at Periyapalayam in neighbouring Tiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu.

The petitioner alleged illegal collection of toll and parking charges for vehicles entering or passing through the Periyapalayam village by a contractor.

He alleged that the contractor who was awarded the contract for the collection of parking charges during festival period by the temple was continuing to charge excessive rates beyond it and even collected toll for vehicles passing through Periyapalayam.

The amount collected did not go to the Panchayat Union Council, the petitioner claimed, and sought a direction by authorities to restrain the contractor from the collection of any fee unauthorizedly.

Justice Mahadevan observed none of the acts related to municipalities and panchayats and the town and country planning provided for collection of toll for vehicles entering the area under the control of the local bodies.

Only under the Indian Tolls Act, 1851, as amended by the state governments, toll can be collected by the state, that too, by the prescribed procedures as per the act.