HC seeks response on child lock in taxis

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asked the State government to file its response on a PIL petition seeking regulatory mechanism for deactivating child lock and centralised locking systems in all types of taxis, including those operating under technology-based taxi aggregators.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheswari and Justice R. Devdas issued the direction while hearing a petition filed by Bangalore Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Pointing out that though the child lock feature in taxis has been a contentious issue in many cities across the country, the State government is in deep slumber on this issue despite several instances of women being molested or raped by taxi drivers in Bengaluru.

Though the child lock was introduced in cars in the 1980s as a safety norm to prevent children, sitting in the rear seat, from accidentally opening the doors, this feature has been posing a threat to the safety of women travelling in taxis.

A woman sitting in the rear seat of a taxi will be unable to open the doors from inside if the child lock is activated, it has been pointed out in the petition.

The counsel for the petitioner pointed out that the government has to amend the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules and the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules to compel taxi operators to deactivate child lock and central locking systems.

The government counsel said that the State is yet to enforce the aggregator rules in view of restrictions imposed by the High Court, which is hearing pleas filed by aggregators, like Uber and Ola, against the rules.

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