Directing the transport department to be unbiased in its approach, the Karnataka High Court has asked it to submit a status report on bike-taxis row by April 16.
Citing constitutional right of every person or entity, Justice S Sujatha while hearing ride-hailing firm Ola plea said no person/aggregator can be singled out in the business activities when rival competitors are allowed to continue such business or vice-versa.
Ola, in its petition, has alleged that no action has been taken against similar platforms, who are doing the said business without obtaining any permission. It demanded uniform level-playing field to be maintained by the authorities.
No motorcycles registered for personal use and not for use as transport vehicles are allowed to be operated as taxies in any form or manner, a TOI report quoted the plea as saying.
The petition further alleges discrimination on the part of the state transport department against Ola whose aggregator licence was suspended for a period of six months in a notification sent to the company on March 18.
The suspension order was reversed on March 25, after the company agreed to pay a fine of 15 lakh.
Ola has since stopped the service but has petitioned the Karnataka High Court against the state transport department for non-issuance of a licence to operate two-wheeler taxis.
It sought the banning of all other bike taxi services including Rapido until such permits are issued. Now, Rapido is facing a crackdown by the Karnataka transport department for running an illegal service in the city.
Transport department claims to have has seized around 300 Rapido bike-taxis. A charge sheet is being filed in these cases and the registration certificate of the bikes would also be confiscated.
Two months ago, the authority had 200 seized Ola and Rapido bike taxis and asked the two companies to refrain from operating the taxis without prior approval of the government.
Meanwhile, the ride-hailing firm also sought directions to the authorities to permit registration of bike-taxis as transport vehicles and grant appropriate contract carriage permits in terms of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
The Karnataka government is still working on the draft guidelines for operations of bike taxis in the state.