BENGALURU: The state government on Wednesday informed the Karnataka High Court that owners of 42,000 cabs/taxis have disengaged child lock system (CLS) in the state. Additional Advocate General, A S Ponnanna made this submission before the division bench of Acting Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar.
The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Bangalore Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BSOG), represented by Dr Hema Divakar, seeking directions to disable CLS, to ensure safety of women passengers.
When the court asked about the remaining cabs, Ponnanna said that three months are required to disengage the remaining two lakh odd cabs in the state. Ponnanna explained that the state government has amended the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 on December 14, 2018 and added the Rule 130A, for disabling CLS in motor cabs. Accordingly, time was given till January 16, 2019 to cab aggregators, to disable child locks. As of now, 42,000 cabs have disengaged CLS, he submitted.
BSOG has filed a PIL seeking directions to disengage the CLS in cabs, saying that there is an urgent need to curb the menace of crimes against women passengers travelling in taxis, by doing away with the CLS.
Giving directions to the taxi operators, regulators and motor vehicle authorities to implement a system, whereby the child safety lock feature on the rear doors of cars are disengaged, the petitioner has contended that the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016 has a provision for switches/buttons mechanism, and needs to be amended to add an additional requirement to disengage the child lock feature permanently.
How CLS can be misused
“The child lock feature is activated in a taxi when one gets on to a cab. Once the passenger is in the car, it is impossible for her to open the door and run out in case of an emergency. Then, she is trapped and at the mercy of the driver”, stated the petition.