BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday partially upheld the constitutional validity of the state’s transportation rules for cab aggregators and struck down certain conditions imposed on aggregators and cab owners.
Declaring the Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016 as ‘constitutionally valid’, the court said the state is competent to frame the rules under the Motor Vehicles Act.
Justice Raghvendra S Chauhan, who pronounced the judgment running up to 260 pages, said that the panic button rule was valid.
The judge had personally operated the panic button as part of judicial proceedings, during the hearing of petitions challenging the rules by cab aggregators Uber and others.
On surge pricing, the judge said that Uber has conceded that the state has the power to prescribe the limits of the fares to be charged by the permit holder. Since it has given an undertaking before this court that it will not charge more fare from the passenger than the maximum fare laid down by the state, the court hopes Uber will abide by its undertaking, the judge said.
He made it clear that the All India Tourist Vehicles can carry only tourists and cannot ply commuters and ruled that a provision which requires that an aggregator should have a fleet of minimum of hundred taxis is valid.
While upholding conditions like drivers being knowledgeable in Kannada and verifying the antecedents of drivers, it did not approve the cancellation of aggregators’ licence because drivers were booked with criminal cases.
The judge said that since the rules cannot be implemented immediately as some conditions have been struck down, the state should to not take any coercive steps against the petitioner-company and the other aggregators. It directed the authorities to give them a reasonable time of one month to comply with the requirements of the Rules.
The judge said that since the petitioner-company has applied for licence under the Aggregator Rules, authorities are directed to issue the licence within a month from the date the requirements are fulfilled.