Ola, Uber and 10 others granted provisional licenses: Maharashtra tells Bombay High Court

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The Bombay High Court was informed by the State of Maharashtra on Monday that Ola, Uber and 10 other cab aggregators have been granted provisional aggregators licenses under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act and the Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines of 2020 [Savina Crasto v. State of Maharashtra & Ors].

Additional Government Pleader Jyoti Chavan submitted a compliance report which informed the Court of the following developments:

The State government has empowered the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to act as Licensing Authority for grant of license to aggregators;

After holding a meeting, the RTAs gave a status that out of 29 applications they received for aggregators licenses from across Maharashtra, 12 aggregators, including Ola ad Uber, have been granted provisional licenses.

Additionally, 17 applications are under consideration.

The compliance report was filed in a public interest litigation (PIL) against transport aggregators, alleging the lack of a consumer grievance redressal mechanism to resolve complaints against Uber.

Since the petitioner requested for time to examine the report, the Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

The Bench had, in an earlier order, directed the cab aggregators to apply for a license from the Maharashtra government. In light of this order, the aggregators applied for licenses, which were provisionally granted by the authorities.

The Court was informed during an earlier hearing that the taxi aggregators were required to obtain licenses and conditions prescribed under the Act and Guidelines.

The Maharashtra government stated that the draft rules had been framed on the basis of the guidelines known as the Maharashtra Regulation of Aggregator Rules, which was pending approval from authorities.

The State clarified that till the rules are issued, the aggregators would be governed by guidelines of the Central government, and they are required to act in accordance with those guidelines.

The High Court observed that despite this being the case, the State had permitted Uber to ply taxis in the State without the requisite licenses.

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