Supreme Court Orders Govt. To Regulate Ola, Uber For Women’s Safety; But Where’s The Law?
Very soon, Govt. of India will regulate on-demand app-based taxi services such as Ola and Uber in India.
However, there are no laws to govern them, right now. When Govt. informed this to the Supreme Court, the Judges gave a very interesting reply: If there are no laws, then create them.
And this changes everything.
Supreme Court To Govt: Regulate Ola, Uber
In a recent case related to Women’s Safety, a Supreme Cour Bemch headed by Justice S A Bobde ordered Govt. to regulate app-based taxi providers Ola and Uber.
The case was related to creating one-stop crisis centre for women in India, which can work as a hub for resolving all problems women face, in real-time,
When Senior Counsel Indira Jaising mentioned the issue of safety of women traveling via Uber and Ola cabs, the bench asked what is the problem here? Govt. should regulate the services, and make sure that women are safe.
However, as explained by Senior Counsel Indira Jaising, there is a huge vacuum in the law here.
A Gap In Law: Ola & Uber Services
A very interesting and alarming fact was shared by Senior Counsel Indira Jaising, during the arguments.
As per current laws, if a women faces harassment or any trouble while traveling in an Uber or Ola cab, then there is no law to protect her.
The case won’t fall under Motor Vehicles Act, since the vehicle is not exactly a taxi or a cab; and there it won’t fall under the IT Act, since the apps are just a platform.
Hence, the victim is left to the mercy of the app provider, and no one else.
Indira said, “They say they fall under internet platforms…they are intermediaries. They don’t fall under the Motor Vehicles Act or IT Act. They are functioning in a vacuum,”
Responding to this, The Bench ordered the Govt. to create laws, if needed, but regulation of the cab hailing apps is the need of the hour.
Safety Of Women Travelling In Uber/Ola: The Current Situation
In 2017, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had recommended few security features for cabs and taxis, which were implemented by the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.
Security measure such as women-only pool rides, compulsory GPS, the facility to call 100 directly from the app, SOS Alert System for the rides, hiding customers’ phone numbers etc was implemented, and they are still existing.
However, as revealed during the hearing, these are just stop-gap arrangements, and not permanent ones, which takes the help of law.
Now, since Govt. has been ordered by the Supreme Court to formulate laws, things can change for good.
We will keep you updated, as we receive more updates.