It’s been a week after the Government of Karnataka fined Ola for operating its bike taxi service, the ride-hailing unicorn has filed a petition in the High Court against the state transport department for the delay in issuing a licence to operate its two-wheeler taxi business in the state.
In the petition, ANI Technologies, which operates Ola is seeking the Karnataka High Court directions to sanction a licence and provide a regulatory framework for the issue of permits for bike taxis. The petition also sought a ban on all other bike taxi operators until permits were issued. The petition is in line with the notification from the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in December 2016.
The notification by the Ministry or Road Transport and Highways directs states to provide permits to operators of bike taxis. It the service is illegal, the state transport should ban all the bike taxi aggregators and not just Ola which already had a licence to operate within Karnataka said a counsel for Ola to Economic Times.
Ola’s petition alleges discrimination against the company. Ola’s licence was suspended for a period of six months in a notification sent to the startup on March 18. However, the suspension was lifted on March 25 after Ola agreed to pay fine of ₹15 lakhs. Ola alleges that there was no such ban on other bike taxi aggregators for operating their bike taxi services in the state.
The state transport department has not commented on the petition and says that it has not received any notice yet. The Government of Karnataka has constituted a committee to study the bike taxi system in October last year. The committee is scheduled to meet soon and submit the report to the government. It has only met once in the past. It is the sole authority of the government to introduce or ban the bike taxi service in the state, says a department official.
Other states like Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana have introduced a licence for bike taxi operators.