West Bengal News: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the guidelines notified by the West Bengal government to regulate the operation of cab aggregators like Uber and Ola. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya noted the hike in prices by cab aggregators and cancellation of rides by drivers and held that the guidelines for providing training programs for drivers are not impractical.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Uber India challenging the notification of the guidelines by the state government on the ground that the state has not followed due process. Uber India argued that many provisions of the guidelines are excessively harsh, oppressive, difficult, unfair and discriminatory.
What did the High Court say?
The court, while pronouncing the verdict, said that the guidelines are solely for the benefit and safety of the consumers. Processes like training programmes, remedial training of drivers, escalation pricing issues, safety and driver compliance, non-discrimination etc. are absolutely necessary. Especially in the context of recent incidents of harassment of passengers by drivers associated with aggregators (Uber and Ola).
What did the cab aggregators say?
The aggregators said that the drivers will have to undergo various additional tough tests, training programs and meet various requirements which other cab drivers providing similar service will not have to do.
The state government gave this argument
The state government, on the other hand, defended the guidelines stating the fact that other aggregators like Ola Cabs have already started filing applications for licenses (under the guidelines). Many such provisional licenses have already been issued to their drivers and thus these are practical norms.
The bench, after considering it, said that the state has followed due process and consulted the stakeholders. Further, the court said that the guidelines largely follow the guidelines of the central government and do not cause any major hindrance in the functioning of cab aggregators with a slight difference from the guidelines of the central government. Therefore, considering the available materials and relevant legal provisions, no discrepancy or illegality was found in issuing the applicable guidelines vide notification.
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