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Bombay HC Asks Women-run Taxi Service to Give Up Exclusive Pick Up Counter

A file image of Bombay High Court.

A file image of Bombay High Court.

The Bombay High Court asked the Priyadarshini taxi operators to try operating from the new counter in the general bay as proposed by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd for a month and see if the same was feasible.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked a taxi service operated exclusively by women drivers to give up their pick up counter at terminal T2 of the Mumbai airport and try functioning from a spot proposed by MIAL for one month.

The HC asked the Priyadarshini taxi operators to try operating from the new counter in the general bay as proposed by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) for a month and see if the same was feasible.

The direction came from a bench of Justices S C Dharamadhikari and BP Colabawala.

It was hearing a petition filed by the Association of the Priyadarshini Taxi Services that runs a fleet of taxis driven only by women.

Earlier this month, MIAL, which runs the airport, had asked the petitioners to move from the exclusive women taxi bay to the general prepaid taxi stand.

The petitioners, through their founder Susiben Shah, said this move was likely to have an adverse impact on their business and might lead to harassment of women drivers.

However, MIAL, through senior advocate Birendra Saraf, told the court that the move was in the interest of all drivers, men and women.

He said that as per the new proposal, there will still be separate counters for men and women operated taxi drivers at the airport, one of the busiest in India.

However, any one taxi fleet operator will not have an exclusive counter anymore, Saraf said.

"Instead, all taxis operated by male drivers will be able to take bookings from the counters meant for them, and all taxi fleet services operated by female drivers will be managed from a counter meant for them," Saraf said.

He added that a MIAL employee will oversee all the new counters to ensure its a fair game for everyone and nobody's bookings are affected.

"The reason behind the system is that there are several taxi services now that are operated by women drivers. So, Priyadarshini can not claim a right to an exclusive counter," Saraf said.

"Instead, now, all women taxi services will operate from an umbrella counter, and taxis run by men from another. Counters for both genders will be located adjacent to each other," Saraf said.

The HC directed MIAL to file an affidavit placing its submissions on record by April 27.

Shah said the petitioners were willing to try the new set up in compliance with the court's direction.