Ola, Uber are plying on tourist permit, how? asks Bombay High Court

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Meanwhile, another petition has been filed in the High Court against Ola and Uber by the Mumbai Taximen's Union and Mumbai Taxi Association. The petition had sought a complete ban on website and app-based cab companies.

The Bombay High Court Wednesday questioned the state government why it had not yet effected a policy to regulate the operations of taxi aggregators which are now permitted to run on tourist permits and directed it to submit an affidavit as well as a policy.

A division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and B P Colabawalla was hearing a petition filed by an association of radio taxis, including Meru, Mega and Tabcabs. The petitioners also pointed out that the MV Act compels a cab to fit an electronic meter so that it can function as per the specified and regulated fares. You need to explain all this.

The petition also drew the bench's attention to the provision under the MV Act, which makes it mandatory for the cab drivers to have Public Service Vehicle badges, which are issued by the State Transport Authority after verifying details of the driver.

Pulling up the government, the bench said, "Apart from increasing the number of cars on the roads and congesting the arteries, you have done nothing". There is no system in place to keep a check on these cab services.

It asked the state to clarify if these cabs were allowed to ply in Mumbai even if they had tourist permits. The court inquired about how surge charge can be taken by cabs and whether it can be allowed under transport laws. By using such vehicles to ferry ordinary commuter amounts to a violation and "misuse" of the permit condition and "a criminal offence under section 192A of the Act punishable with fine initially upto Rs 5000 or imprisonment of three months to one year or fine of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for a subsequent offence". Directing the government to file an affidavit, the bench said, "If the proposed policy is formulated, submit that too along with your affidavit". "Uber and Ola are in effect and substance running a scheme without having applied for and received the necessary license and hence are clearly violating the provisions of the law", senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for the petitioner, argued. The court will now hear the matter on September 2.