Supreme Court refuses grant Maharashtra license to bike taxi aggregator Rapido

Supreme Court refuses grant Maharashtra license to bike taxi aggregator Rapido

Maharashtra has banned the use of non-transport vehicles from aggregation, in order to ensure road safety of the general public and passengers at large.

Jal khambataUpdated: Tuesday, February 07, 2023, 07:30 PM IST
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Rapido | Representative Image

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to grant relief to Rapido in a plea challenging the Maharashtra government's denial to grant the two-wheeler bike taxi aggregator license to the company.

The apex court, while refusing to grant relief to Rapido, granted it the liberty to move the Bombay High Court by filing a writ petition to challenge January 19 notification issued by Maharashtra. The SC has asked Bombay High Court to consider Rapido’s challenge un-influenced by its earlier order.

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala said that amendments made to the Motor Vehicles Act in 2019 make it clear that aggregators cannot operate without a valid license.

The Maharashtra government has been asked to take a decision on whether or not to permit bike, taxi aggregators by March 31.

Pune RTO rejected Rapido's plea for license

In the case of Rapido, the Court observed that the Pune RTO had rejected its plea for licence in December 2022.

However, while hearing an appeal against the same, the Bombay High Court had noted that there was absence of policy as regards licensing of bike taxis in the State.

Subsequently, the State had constituted a committee comprising senior IAS and government officers to look into the same and the State had come up with a notification on January 19 prohibiting the use of non-transport vehicles for the purpose of aggregation.

The Supreme Court said that the correctness of Pune RTO order stands subsumed by wider decision of State to have a committee examine the issue.

Rapido gets approval to move Bombay HC

Hence, the top court refused to grant relief to Rapido but granted the company liberty to move the Bombay High Court under Article 226 to challenge January 19 notification issued by the State of Maharashtra.

Rapido had appealed against the Bombay High Court’s order from January rejecting the company’s plea against the State government's refusal to grant a two-wheeler bike taxi aggregator license to the company.

Why was Rapido banned?

The bike taxi and auto aggregator had also challenged the government resolution (GR), issued on January 19, by Maharashtra banning the use of non-transport vehicles including two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers from aggregation, in order to ensure road safety of the general public and passengers at large.

The GR noted that if non-transport vehicles are permitted for aggregation, it would require a detailed consideration in terms of guidelines, terms and conditions and framework.

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