BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday asked the state government to hold another round of talks with taxi aggregators —ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd and Uber India Technologies Pvt Ltd—which offers its services through Ola and Uber apps, to reach a consensus on the rate for autorickshaw services.
Justice MGS Kamal issued the direction while hearing a batch of petitions filed by aggregators, challenging the notice and ban order on October 14, after the Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadagi agreed to hold another round of meeting with them.
Navadagi argued that both taxi aggregators have admitted during the meeting that they cannot offer autorickshaw services on their apps. The petitioners’ counsel contended that the proceedings of the meeting do not bear signatures of the petitioners’ representatives. The petitioners argued that autorickshaw was included in the definition of taxi under the rules, and that they have a right to collect service charges for offering value-added services.
Senior counsel for Ola submitted that the company is charging Rs19 as service charge for autorickshaw in addition to the amount paid to the drivers. Senior counsel for Uber argued that state government’s arguments run contrary to the order passed by the Division Bench of the HC in December 2016, asking the government to refrain from taking coercive action against the aggregators for violation of Rules, 2016, when the appeals are pending decision.
The counsels submitted that licences have been obtained under the rules, and their applications for its renewal submitted to the Transport Department in 2021 are still pending.In the impugned notice to the aggregators on October 6, 2022, it was stated that they have violated the regulations under the Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules, 2016, by providing autorickshaw services.
Consumers were also charged higher than the rate fixed by the government, it added, warning that if services are not ceased, the Commissioner of Transport will take action. An order to that effect was issued on October 11, 2022 by the commissioner. A penalty of Rs 5,000 per vehicle per day for operating autorickshaw services was also mentioned.