A week after Karnataka government fined Ola for operating its bike taxi service, the company has filed a petition in the High Court against the state transport department for a delay in issuing licence to operate two-wheeler taxis in the state.
ANI Technologies, which owns and operates Ola, in the petition seeking the Karnataka High Court directions to sanction and provide a regulatory framework for the issue of permits for bike taxis, in line with the notification from Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in December 2016. It also sought from the transport department a ban on all other bike taxi operators until permits were issued.
There is a notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that instructs states to give permits to operators of bike taxis. If it is indeed illegal, the state transport department needs to ban all other bike taxi aggregators and not just Ola, which had a licence to operate in the state, a counsel for Ola was quoted saying in a report appearing in ET.
The petition 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. There was no such ban on other bike taxi aggregators for operating in the state.
The state transport department refused to comment on the petition saying it is yet to receive a notice. The Karnataka government had constituted a committee to study the bike taxi system in October last year. Since then the committee has met only once. It is scheduled to meet again soon and submit the report to the government.
A department official said the government would be the sole authority to take a call on either introducing the bike taxi service or banning it in the state.
While the states of Haryana, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Telangana have all introduced a licence for bike taxi operators, Gujarat’s rules on the new mode of transport are currently in the pipeline.