Hold app-based taxi firms accountable for offences by drivers to improve safety and services
There has been a spike in complaints of alleged harassment by app-based cab drivers. Just because these companies did not have headquarters in India it should not be difficult to hold them accountable for crimes committed by their driverseditorials Updated: Oct 15, 2017 20:41 IST
It is a judicial intervention that could impact the lives of thousands of taxi users in urban India and pave the way for enhanced safety and better service standards. During the hearing of a matter related to the implementation of the victim compensation scheme and women’s security, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it would look into a plea to regulate app-based taxi service providers such as Ola and Uber to hold them accountable for offences committed by the drivers of their vehicles. “The issue of regulating public transport, including Internet-based taxi services, will be taken up on December 7,” said a bench of Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta.
The court made these observations when senior advocate Indira Jaising, the advisor to the court in the matter, pointed out several instances of crimes committed by drivers of these services. Jaising said Uber was recently banned from plying in London after it refused to subject itself to the jurisdiction of the local courts. She added that just because these companies did not have headquarters in India it should not be difficult to hold them accountable for crimes committed by their drivers.
There has been a spike in complaints of alleged harassment by app-based cab drivers. Earlier this week, stand-up comic Mallika Dua said her cab driver became abusive when she requested him to raise the air-conditioning. Last year, a driver was held for the alleged molestation of a 23-year-old Belgian tourist in New Delhi and in June 2016, the Delhi Police arrested a 40-year-old driver for making obscene gestures in front of an additional sessions judge who had hailed a ride after finishing work. It is necessary to have some regulatory framework for the companies running these services. Making app-based cab service companies accountable for offences committed by their drivers will help reduce these offences. Once such guidelines and regulation are in place, they will benefit the consumer, act as a deterrent against bad behaviour and also create greater confidence in their business.