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App-based Taxi service Ola has dragged the Karnataka Transport Department to the state's High Court over the delay of the issuance of bike taxi permits. Ola's High court case against the Karnataka Government comes just a week after the state's transport department fined the cab aggregator Rs 15 lakh for operating its bike taxi service without a permit. The Transport department also nearly shut down the cab aggregator's operations in the state.
According to ET Auto, Ola's parent company ANI Technologies has petitioned the Karnataka High Court seeking directions sanctioning and provision of regulatory framework with regards to the issuing of permits for bike taxis in the state. Bike taxis were allowed to run in India as per a notification from Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in December 2016.
The notification (which can be viewed here) allowed for two-wheeler taxi permits on the lines similar to those of regular cabs in order to provide a convenient and pocket-friendly last mile connectivity solution for citizens. The notification recommended that existing private bikes be allowed to be used as two-wheeler taxis.
Ola's petition to the Karnataka High Court claims that the Transport department did not take action against other bike taxi operators in the state, while it was prosecuted. Ola's aggregator license was suspended by the Karnataka State Transport Department on March 18 for a period of six months.
However, after various talks with the cab aggregator service, the Karnataka Government reversed its decision on March 25. Ola, in turn, agreed to pay a fine of Rs 15 lakh for operating its bike taxi service in the state of Karnataka. In addition to the fine, the cab aggregator had to shut down its bike taxi service in the state. In its petition to the Karnataka High Court, Ola has asked that the State Transport Department ban all other bike taxi operators in the state until permits were issued by the state.
Speaking to ET Auto Karnataka State Transport Commissioner VP Ikkeri stated, "The department is aware of the writ petition but cannot comment on it as we are yet to get a notice." He also said that the state government had constituted a committee to study the two-wheeler taxi system in October 2018.