The Bombay High Court recently opined that the Maharashtra government should seriously consider a proposal for licensing bike taxies [Roppen Transportation Services Pvt Ltd & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.].
A division bench of Justices GS Patel and SG Dige was hearing a plea moved by Rapido, a bike taxi aggregator company, challenging the State government’s refusal to grant two-wheeler bike taxi aggregator license to such entities.
In the communication of December 29 refusing grant of license to the petitioner-company, the State government had stated that there is no State policy on licensing of bike taxies and that there is no fare structure policy for bike taxies.
The bench asked the State to consider the benefits of having two-wheeler transport and opined that there is nothing to stop the State from considering a policy.
“Nobody seems to have applied their mind to the evident advantages from various perspectives including reducing traffic congestion, pollution reduction and efficiency in transport by allowing bike rider systems. We expect that these will be made subject to certain safety requirements that must be followed but that is hardly a reason for rejecting the entire proposal in this fashion. Outside Mumbai, and in fact even in the northern suburban of Mumbai, two wheeler transport is by far the norm and is a matter of great convenience. We see no reason why the Government should not seriously consider the proposal”, the order stated.
The division bench was not convinced by the reasons given by the State and questioned why no pro tem arrangement can be made till a final policy is made.
“We understand that the State Government may need some time to formulate a policy. But it is certainly not entirely out of contemplation and cannot be that until a final policy is formulated a temporary or pro-tem working arrangement can be made perhaps even on a without prejudice basis,” the bench said.
The Court then asked the State to inform them within a week, when it intended to take a final decision in regard to the two-wheeler or bike taxi aggregators. It also demanded to know the transitional provisions it proposed to take and the time within which the said provisions would be put in place
Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy with advocates Fereshte Sethna, Prapti Kedia, Shivani Sanghavi and Abhishek Tilak briefed by DMD Advocates.
Government Pleader PP Kakade with Additional Government Pleader AA Alaspurkar.