The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Chandigarh has directed Ola cabs to pay Rs 17,000 to two city women, who were harassed after one of them travelled in the cab with two minor girls, which was driven by a snatcher.
The complainant, Sachin Sharma, a teacher of Government School in Chandigarh, booked an Ola cab for her friend Jyoti, another teacher of Government School, and her two daughters aged 5 and 7 from ANI Technologies (Ola Cab) on December 15, 2019, at 3.20 pm. The pick-up was from Sector 23 and the destination was Elante Mall.
The cab (PB-8T-MP-5183) was confirmed and it reached the designated place at 3.24 p.m. When she sat in the cab with her two daughters, Jyoti told the cab driver that its condition was very bad and completely broken from outside. The driver said that it had met with an accident yesterday.
It was alleged that when the driver started from Sector 23 to Elante Mall, instead of going from Sector 23 to Sector 22, he went towards Sector 24 and turned towards the market of Sector 16 from the middle of Sector 15-16. When Jyoti interrupted him, he said that he was going according to the navigation, and reached Shanti Kunj from Sector 16 where the police had laid a naka. On reaching there, the driver said that the petrol in his car was over and going a little ahead of the naka, he parked the car on the roadside, and asked her to sit in the car.
After waiting for about half an hour, Jyoti informed Sachin, who told her to talk to a policeman if someone is around. Since on that day, a checkpost was near Shanti Kunj, Jyoti narrated the entire episode to the police.
The police initially told Jyoti that she should not panic. However, about an hour later, police personnel standing at the checkpost came and told her that the cab in which she is sitting has been snatched. They just received a message in this regard.
Cops reached the spot from Sector 17 police station. After 10-15 minutes, the actual driver came and asked them about the person who had driven them there. Jyoti was shocked. Sachin cancelled the ride and booked a new cab. The police detained the driver, and released him after verification, whereas Jyoti and her daughters along with Sachin then went to Elante Mall in another cab.
Alleging harassment, the complainants moved the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which issued notices to Ola Cabs, ANI Technologies, and Malkeet Singh, driver of the first cab. However, despite service of notices, nobody appeared on behalf of the respondents, who were therefore proceeded against ex parte on March 5, 2020.
After hearing the arguments, the commission held that the non-appearance of the opposite parties shows that they have nothing to say in their defence against the allegations made by the complainants. Therefore, the assertions of the complainants go unrebutted.
The harassment suffered by the complainants is also writ large. The opposite parties have certainly indulged in an unfair trade practice as they ought to take care of the safety of their customers (complainants herein) and follow the guidelines issued by the government to ensure safety of women and children, held the commission. The commission thus directed the Ola cabs to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation and Rs 7,000 as cost of litigation to the complainants.
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