The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the petitioner and State government to give suggestions, if any, to cab aggregators like Uber and Ola regarding possible deficiencies existing in grievance redressal mechanism of the companies.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik has also asked the cab aggregators to comply, within two months, with the statutory guidelines as contained in the guidelines issued in 2020 by the Central govt extending to states.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Savina Crasto highlighting the lack of an effective grievance redressal mechanism for customers using the Uber India app.
On Tuesday, Crasto said that the government has filed a compliance report, but it doesn’t mention the grievance redressal mechanism. Also, it doesn’t mention how the provisional licenses are issued, and what the State is going to do about their own guidelines, or how the conditions will be checked.
The government had filed a compliance report on Monday stating that out of 29 applications, 12 are allowed and 17 are under consideration.
To this Chief Justice Datta said: “The legislature has powers to issue guidelines. How can the Courts do so? You want the app to have certain features, but can we do it? We will keep this in June. Till then let us see how they comply with the conditions. What is the provision for suspension?”
Counsel for the central government, RV Gowilkar, said that the Centre cannot issue guidelines for individual mechanism as the riders may have grievances which are not classified by the company. Experiences are limited or controlled by licensee, he said.
Janak Dwarkadas, counsel for Uber, said that there is an emergency number available and even other redressal mechanisms are available. He further said that they would incorporate whatever the state government needs to be added.
When Crasto said that grievances should be invited from others who have suffered like her, the CJ said that since the mechanism was in place, it wasn’t necessary.
The court said in its order: “The state is expected to consider the experiences and the nature of complaints that are lodged with the aggregators with the apps formulated by the aggregators for the purpose of finding deficiency if at all in the system. The deficiencies will be addressed in a time-bound manner. The state is at liberty to give suggestions to implement guidelines for implementing conditions.”
The HC has kept the PIL for hearing on June 20.