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The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to consider making laws for governing and regulating application-based taxi services like Ola and Uber.
The Bench of Justices SA Bobde, R Subhash Reddy, and BR Gavai directed the petitioner in the case of Nipun Saxena v. Union of India to make a representation to the Centre in this regard.
The issue of safety of women passengers in app-based taxi services came up during the hearing in the case concerning setting up of one-stop crisis centres for women. While making her submissions in the case, Senior Counsel Indira Jaising told the Court that such services need to be regulated as they are functioning in a vacuum.
Jaising told the Court that a lot of untoward incidents take place in taxis and the big issue is that these services are not governed under the Motor Vehicles Act. Given that these services are claimed to be application-based intermediaries, they are not even governed by the Information Technology Act, she submitted.
“They say they fall under internet platforms…they are intermediaries. They don’t fall under the Motor Vehicles Act or IT Act. They are functioning in a vacuum.”
The Court then intimated its inclination to direct the Centre to look into the issue. At this point, the Counsel for the Centre said that the issue will require amendment of the laws.
“And who can do that?”, asked Justice Bobde.
The Court, however, went on to direct the petitioner to make a representation to the Centre containing suggestions about regulating app-based taxi services in light of the safety of women passengers.