The Maharashtra government on Tuesday filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court to regulate operations of mobile application-based cab operators, such as Ola and Uber, to bring about a level-playing field for all cab operators in the city and “ensure better services to the commuters”.
Calling their business tactics monopolistic and exploitative, the government filed its affidavit in reply to a petition filed by some drivers from Ola and Uber who had approached the high court challenging the new rules on the ground that the same imposed terms made it difficult for them to get licences.
The state had imposed new rules under the City Taxi Rules 2017. The petitioners’ main complaint is that the new rules do not allow app-based cabs to ply on national tourist permits. Instead, this makes it mandatory for them to apply for new local permits if they wish to continue operations within city limits. The existing permits restrict such cabs within the city of their registration. Also, to obtain the local permits, the petitioners claimed, they will have to shell out more than 10 times of what the drivers of black and yellow taxis have to pay, they claimed.
The government, on the other hand, has maintained that Ola and Uber have been flouting the regional transport authority’s rules by plying as hail taxis on tourist permits. “The petitioners are only permitted to ply as tourist vehicles within the state of Maharashtra and between states and are only meant for plying tourists.”
According to the affidavit, they further have an unregulated regime pertaining to their tariff structure. “They do not want to be regulated by any regulations and want an unfettered playing field to further their monetary benefits and exploit the commuters at large,” it further added.
“The petitioners have predatory tactics , they aspire for a monopoly in the market and want to wipe out competition including the common men who drive the yellow and black taxis. Such tactics cannot be permitted by a welfare state like Maharashtra,” the affidavit states.