13 Jan 2023 8:00 AM GMT
After stinging observations from the Bombay High Court, bike taxi aggregator Rapido undertook to close down all its services – bike taxi, rickshaw and food delivery in Maharashtra till January 20, 2023.Rapido informed the court that the app has now become inoperative in the state."Ms. Sethna (for the petitioner) confirms that the app is now inoperative in Maharashtra. We however...
After stinging observations from the Bombay High Court, bike taxi aggregator Rapido undertook to close down all its services – bike taxi, rickshaw and food delivery in Maharashtra till January 20, 2023.
Rapido informed the court that the app has now become inoperative in the state.
"Ms. Sethna (for the petitioner) confirms that the app is now inoperative in Maharashtra. We however do clarify for the convenience of customers who may have booked rides before 1pm today, the petitioner may fulfill those obligations. This is only for the convenience of those consumers."
A division bench of Justices GS Patel and Justice SG Dige told the petitioner it would dismiss the petition with costs if they refused to shut down their services after the bench was informed that Rapido doesn’t have license to operate any of these services.
The court was hearing Rapido’s plea challenging the state’s refusal to grant licenses to entities like it.
During the hearing, Advocate General Dr. Birendra Saraf insisted that if the petition is to be entertained, the petitioner be required to undertake that it will shut down its services first.
The AG also told the court that a committee has been set up to explore the formulation of guidelines for bike taxis in the state. Further, state is in the process of initiating prosecution against entities like Uber who are operating bike taxis, he said.
The court had earlier said that State cannot remain in a limbo when it comes to taking a decision in the matter.
The court directed the petitioner to place on record the terms of the licenses it has obtained after Advocate Fereshte Sethna said that two states have granted licences and two other states have granted it provisional licenses.
The petitioner during the earlier hearings has argued that there is discrimination against it as Uber etc. continue to offer the same service of bike taxis but are protected by status quo order.
The court today pointed out that there is a flaw in the petitioner’s case as it is continuing to operate its services despite not having licence.
The court has kept all the contentions open for further consideration and posted the matter for January 20, 2023.
The state in a notification dated December 29, 2022, said that there is no scheme for bike taxis and no fare structure policy in place.
Being unconvinced by the state’s reasons to refuse bike taxi licenses, the court in an earlier order had said “Nobody seems to have applied their mind to the evident advantages from various perspectives including reducing traffic congestion, pollution reduction and efficiency in transport by allowing bike rider systems. We expect that these will be made subject to certain safety requirements that must be followed but that is hardly a reason for rejecting the entire proposal in this fashion.”
Case no. – WP/15991/2022 [Civil]
Case Title – Roppen Transportation Services Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. v. State of Maharashtra
Citation - 2023 LiveLaw (Bom) 24
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