Credits - Mathrubhumi English

The Karnataka High Court has asked the state transport department to be unbiased in its approach and submit a status report on bike-taxis by April 16. While hearing the plea filed by Ola, Justice S Sujatha said no business can be single out in activities when rival competitors are allowed to continue such business.

Ola last week filed a petition and alleged that no action has been taken against any other similar platform, who most of them are doing business without obtaining any permission. The ride-hailing unicorn demanded a uniform playing field to be maintained by the state transport department after it paid a fine of INR 15 lakhs.

In the state of Karnataka, motorcycles registered for personal use cannot be used as transport vehicles in any form or manner. The transport department suspended the aggregator licence for six months in a notification sent to the company on March 18. However, the suspension order was lifted after the company paid the fine.

Ola has stopped operating bike-taxis in the state since then but has petitioned the High Court of Karnataka against the state transport authority for non-issuance of licence to operate two-wheeler bike taxi service.

Another bike-taxi startup Rapido also faced a crackdown by the transport department when it seized around 17 Rapido bike taxis. A charge sheet is being filed against the startup and the registration certificates of the bikes will also be confiscated.

Ola 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. Other states like Goa, Haryana and Telangana has permitted the operation of bike taxis in the state.


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