Bombay High Court Questions State, Central Govts Over App-Based Cab Operators’ Failure to Address Consumer Complaints

Bombay High Court Questions State, Central Govts Over App-Based Cab Operators’ Failure to Address Consumer Complaints

The Bombay High Court (HC) has sought clarification from the State Government on the steps it has taken to implement customer complaint redressal mechanisms offered by app-based cab aggregators under the periphery of the Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines, 2020. 

The division bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni heard the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Savina Crasto, who brought forth grievances pertaining to the “complex and ineffective” redressal mechanism offered by one such cab aggregator.  

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The bench has asked the petitioner to add the Secretaries of Union Ministry of Surface Transport and Ministry of Information Technology to the petition so that they can directly address the grievances that have been raised. Further, the court asked Crasto to submit a comparative statement of redressal mechanisms provided by other app-based cab operators.

In her petition, Crasto highlights the experience she had last year wherein the cab driver assigned to her was driving dangerously and stopped the car midway through the trip citing a problem in the vehicle while asking her to cancel the trip. 

Considering the fact that she was alone at the time, she booked another cab while paying more for the new trip than she did for the first cab ride.  

She also brought up an incident involving her parents, highlighting the inadequacies in the cab operators’ grievance redressal system. Crasto said that she even wrote emails to the cab operators which either bounced back or never received a reply. 

Her next course of action was to approach the Central and State Governments. When she couldn’t find an amicable solution even there, Crasto decided to approach the Bombay High Court with the matter. 

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“The respondent cab service provider, which has worldwide presence, does not treat the citizens of this country at par with others in developed nations and cares less about them and it can be ascertained from the fact that the service provider has guarded its details in such a manner that completely leaves its customers exhausted and makes them feel helpless while raising their grievances against the company,” Crasto’s PIL said.

The court, in response to the petitioner’s submissions, took up the State Government on the matter saying, “This is a genuine grievance. The state is permitting them to ply taxis. The app is framed only to suit the needs of the company and not the consumer, which is the case of the petitioner.”

The court will hear responses from the State and Central Government representatives at the next hearing scheduled for the 10th of February. 

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