BENGALURU: On Thursday, the state Transport Department issued directions to disable the child lock feature in all existing and to-be-registered cabs by January 16, and that a certificate be obtained from the Regional Transport Office concerned on or before the same date.
The department said that mobile app-based cab aggregators are also directed not to ply cabs that do not comply. Also, permits won’t be issued to cabs with child locks. Owners of cabs who do not comply, will face legal action.
This comes after the state government informed the Karnataka HC that it has issued notice to the cab aggregator companies to disengage child locks in cabs/taxis at the earliest. The government advocate made this submission before the division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aravind Kumar during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Bangalore Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BSOG), represented by Dr Hema Divakar.
The advocate submitted that the state government has amended the Karnataka Motor Vehicles rules, 1989, on December 14, 2018, and inserted the Rule 130A for disabling child locks in motor cabs (taxis).He has also submitted that the amendment has been notified in the state, and directions have been issued to implement it. Accordingly, the authorities have taken steps to implement it by issuing notices to the cab aggregators. The court adjourned the hearing to January 23, as the advocate seeks time to submit more details with regard to the steps taken on the matter by the state and Centre.
Following Delhi’s example
BSOG has sought directions to taxi operators, regulators and motor vehicle authorities. The Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016, has a provision for a switches/buttons mechanism that needs to be amended to disengage the child lock feature permanently.“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 them to open the door and run out in case of an emergency,” read the petition.
Using Delhi as an example, which introduced a clause in the draft City Taxi Rules, 2017, that only those drivers be issued licences who disabe the features, the petitioner has stated that the Delhi government has taken steps for women’s safety. Hence, it wants to do away with child locks in taxis too. The Delhi Commission for Women took cognizance of the crimes against women increasing due to child locks in cabs, the petitioner said.