Adopting a stricter stance on safety of women, the Supreme Court has said that rules need to be put in place to hold app-based cab aggregators accountable for crimes involving their drivers or vehicles.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta accepted the suggestions of amicus curiae and senior advocate Indira Jaising to create a regulatory regime for checking sexual harassment of women travelling in public transport and app-based taxis, said a report in The Asian Age.
The apex court has asked the central government to examine the plea, and respond on how Internet-based transport services should be regulated. The hearing is scheduled for 7 December, The Times of India reported.
Jaising said app-based taxi operators did not carry out background checks on drivers, leaving commuters vulnerable. She also cited the recent ban enforced on Uber by London's transport regulator.
Uber lost its London licence after the city’s transport authority said the company was not fit and proper to hold a private vehicle hire licence. “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” Transport for London had said.
Ola and Uber did not respond to email queries seeking comment.
In India, several incidents of molestation and sexual harassment by Ola and Uber drivers have been reported. A rape case involving an Uber driver had led to several states banning app-based taxis.
The incident snowballed into an internal crisis for Uber. The victim had sued the company, accusing it of illegally obtaining her medical records.
Uber’s Asia-Pacific head Eric Alexander was fired in June following controversies around the incident.
The Supreme Court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by law student Nipun Saxena and advocate Ankita Chaudhary expressing concern over the rising rate of crime, particularly rape incidents, across the country. The court has also asked National Legal Services Authority to suggest a model victim compensation scheme, according to The Asian Age report.