The Supreme Court has decided to put in place a regulatory regime for making public transport authorities, including app-based taxi services like Uber and Ola accountable for breach of women’s safety. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta accepted the suggestions of amicus curiae and senior advocate Indira Jaising for creating such a regime to check sexual harassment of women when they travel in public transport buses or app-based taxis like Uber and Ola. Jaising pointed out that Uber was banned in London after it refused to subject to court jurisdiction.
A similar provision should be in India so that such companies can’t evade legal action if incidents of rape, sexual harassment take place in cabs and by drivers. She said there was no uniformity among states to deal with sexual harassment in public transport. She also wanted a proper victim compensation scheme. The bench asked the Centre to respond to the suggestion and to come out with a mechanism so that the court could pass appropriate orders to ensure the safety and protection of women. In the last hearing the court had expressed concern that crores of rupees allotted for fitting GPS and high security plates in all public transport vehicles are not being spent.
No steps are being taken for maintenance of a logbook, creating awareness, recruitment of more cops and providing them with sophisticated security gadgets and installing CCTV cameras in sensitive places. The court asked the National Legal Services Authority to suggest a model victim compensation scheme, which could be put in place in all states to provide relief to victims of sexual harassment. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by a law student, Nipun Saxena, and advocate Ankita Chaudhary expressing concern over the rising rate of crime, particularly rape incidents across the country. They submitted that the first measure should be that all public and transport vehicles should be fitted with GPS system, all vehicles should carry information of the owners, drivers, conductors, cleaners on the backside of the vehicles