Savina R. Crasto V. Union of India & Ors 2022
1. Whether the applicants are require to adhere to the Motor Vehicle Guidelines, 2020 if they have filed objections.
2. Whether the applicants applying for a license are adhering to the Motor Vehicle Guidelines, 2020 issued by the Central Government.
3. Whether the aggregators are conforming with the Motor Vehicle Guidelines.
The aggregators are required to comply with the statutory guidelines as contained in the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, 2020, framed by the Central Government. Furthermore, with regards to Motor Vehicle Aggregators, the State Government may also formulate guidelines similar to those of the Central Government. The Licensees are required to adhere to the Motor Vehicle Guidelines, 2020, until the State of Maharashtra enacts its own set of guidelines conforming with the former by the Central Government.
In an order dated 07/03/2022, the Court observed that the sub-sec. (1) of sec. 93 of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, requires, inter alia, an aggregator to obtain a license from such authority and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the State Government. The first proviso to the sub-sec. (1) of Sec. 93 provides that while issuing license to an aggregator, the State Government may follow such guidelines as may be issued by the Central Government. In the said
case, the Respondent No. 3 is a ‘Transportation Aggregator ‘ launched in 2013 under the name Uber Technologies, Inc., popularly known as UBER. Furthermore, UBER had raised certain objections to the 2020 Guidelines proposed by the Central Government. It was reported that since no final decision had been taken on such objections hence, UBER had not yet applied for license under the 2020 Guidelines.
In the same order, the court further held that if no application is made before 16/3/2022 by any aggregator or an application for license is rejected by the Licensing Authority, such unlicensed aggregator shall not be permitted to carry on further operations in the State of Maharashtra till such time an appropriate license is obtained by him/it.
In the present order dated 05/04/2022, the Ld. petitioner contended that the UBER app had shortcomings, while the OLA app was more user-friendly. Consequently, the Ld. counsel for UBER App disputed the said contention by saying that UBER would not like to lag behind OLA, and hence,
the UBER App has been formulated with in-built features to cater with any customer complaints.
Further, the court observed that with respect to the licenses that have provisionally been issued to the aggregators (as stated above), the licensees are required to comply with several conditions as contained therein, including the conditions in the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, 2020.
(The Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines of 2020 were issued in compliance with the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019.)
The Court directed the State Government to examine the experience of plying of cabs by the aggregators as well as the nature of complaints that are lodged with it or with the aggregators through the apps formulated by them and observe if there are still deficiencies in the system which would require to be addressed in a time-bound manner.
The petitioner was granted the liberty to record her experiences of the services by the aggregates after the regulatory mechanism has been put in place, and if there is any particular area which requires the attention of the Central Government or the State Government, she may point it out in an additional affidavit for consideration by the Court.
The State Government was furthermore also granted the liberty to file an additional affidavit to indicate what other measures the aggregators may be required to comply with in the best interest of the travelling passengers, if there’s any.
The court reiterated that Aggregators must follow the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, 2020 in order to be eligible for a license to continue operations. Furthermore, the State Government has been directed to analyse the operations of the aforementioned aggregators and enact guidelines similar to those issued by the Central Government. To obtain a License, aggregators must comply with the 2020 Motor Vehicle Guidelines. As for the licensees, noncompliance with the aforementioned guidelines would result in the revocation of their license to continue operations.
The objectives of issuing the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guideline, 2020 include:
- Regulating shared mobility and reducing traffic congestion and pollution, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has been amended by the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 to include the definition of the term ‘aggregator’.
- Prior to the amendment the regulation of Aggregator was not available
- To provide ease of doing business, customer safety and driver welfare
Proposed guidelines ensures :
- regulation of aggregators;
- eligibility conditions / qualifications for of an entity to be an aggregator;
- compliance with regard to vehicles and drivers;
- compliances with regard to Aggregator App and Website;
- manner of fare regulation;
- drivers’ welfare;
- service to citizens’ parameters and ensuring safety;
- evolving concepts like pooling and ride sharing in private cars;
- license fees / security deposit and powers that the State Governments.