On Monday, 10 May 2021, a division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice J H Kazi directed the State Government to consider and decide on the representation made for grant of permits for running a motorcycle taxi service in the state in two months’ time.
The petitioners had contended that section 2(7) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, defines contract carriage, which is an inclusive definition and the power of the Central and State Government to control transport vehicles which also includes a contract carriage and the provisions dealing with application for contract carriage permit namely.
Further, as per section 73 of the MV Act talks about the grant of contract carriage permit while section 74 lays down the conditions under which they may be granted as well as the waiver of conditions.
Accordingly, permission is being sought for running a motorcycle taxi being a transport vehicle as per Notification dated 05/11/2004 as the appellant is seeking permission to run a motorcycle contract carriage permit. Reliance was also the report of the Committee constituted to Propose Taxi Policy Guideline to Promote Urban Mobility, submitted on 15/12/2016 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, wherein there is a specific reference to encourage and permit new forms of urban mobility like bike sharing e-rickshaws and to reduce delays and to embrace digital technology online grant of the permits is recommended for such transport vehicles engaged in bike sharing and e-rickshaws for last mile connectivity or even otherwise.
The bench on going through the relevant provisions under the Motor Vehicles Act and the notification issued by the Central Government said, "A motorcycle could be used for hire to carry one passenger as a pillion. Even as per the Central Government Notification such a motorcycle used for hire would, prima facie, come within the definition of contract carriage as defined under sub-section (7) of Section 2 of the MV Act, 1988."
It further added, "The definition of contract carriage is an inclusive definition, which includes a maxi-cab and a motor-cab notwithstanding that separate fares are charged for its passengers. The definition of contract carriage, is an inclusive definition and not an exhaustive one, which would include even a motorcycle taxi which is to be used for hire or reward on which a passenger could be carried on pillion as it is categorized as a transport vehicle by issuance of notification by the Central Government under the provisions of the MV Act, 1988."
The court finally concluded by saying, "In the instant case, the permit sought is with regard to renting of motor cabs or motorcycles/taxi service for hire or reward and therefore, we find that the applications to be made by the appellant or any other entity similarly situated for seeking such a permission ought to be considered by respondent Nos.1 to 4 having regard to the aforesaid provisions as well as in accordance with law."