In an attempt to ensure the safety of women in India, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that app-based transport service providers like Uber, Ola and redBus need to be regulated in order to make the drivers accountable for offences committed by them.
Why the new rule
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta of the top court decided to examine a plea as it was observed that most internet-based cab service providers are located in foreign countries.
Lawmakers also echoed the same concern and stressed on the need for proper background checks to ensure the safety of women.
"These companies who run the app-based tax services do not have company headquarters in India. Some companies have their headquarters in Norway or in other foreign countries. It is very difficult to hold them accountable for any crime committed by their drivers," Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, was quoted as saying by a news agency.
Jaising said that women passengers face harassment as these cab service companies do not subject their drivers to a thorough background check while trying to justify the necessity of a proper mechanism to regulate the companies, the Times of India reported.
She also told the apex court that Uber was recently banned in London for refusing to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the local laws.
Jaising cited the Nirbhaya gang-rape case of 2012 wherein a Delhi woman was brutally raped and murdered in a public transport bus and said that she will submit all the details to the bench following which the case will be heard.
"The issue of regulating public transport including internet-based taxi services will be taken up on December 7," said the bench.
Compensation for victims
Meanwhile, the bench has asked the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to draft a model framework for release of funds under the Victim Compensation Scheme by December 31.
It has directed NALSA to set up a committee of about four or five persons and chalk out rules for victim compensation for sexual offences and acid attacks. The NALSA has also been asked to take into considerations the suggestions given by Jaising.
"The Chairperson or the nominee of the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women should be associated with the Committee. The report of the Committee will be filed on or before December 31, 2017," the bench said.
Harassment by app-based cab drivers has increased in the recent times.
The most recent victim being comic artist and internet star Mallika Dua. Her Uber driver misbehaved with her and hurled cuss words when she asked the driver named Chetan to decrease the AC temperature.
On June 2, 2016, a 40-year-old Ola driver was also arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly misbehaving with and making obscene gestures in front of an additional sessions judge who had hailed a ride after finishing work.
Another ola driver in Delhi was nabbed for allegedly molesting a 23-year-old girl from Belgium in May 2016.