The claim by the Delhi Government and police that they have taken a number of steps to ensure grant of permit for vehicles plying on Delhi roads and verifying the antecedents of the crew in the aftermath of the December 16, 2012, gang-rape case, has fallen flat on its face.
The discovery that the driver accused in the Uber rape case was acquitted in another rape case earlier, reflects the failure of Delhi Government’s Transport Department and law enforcement agencies to work as a team. This despite the adverse finding of the Justice Usha Mehra Commission, formed to look into women safety after the December 16, 2012, gang-rape.
The Commission had in its report, submitted in 2013, recommended that the Delhi Government “may consider enhancing the number public service vehicles [PSV] like buses, taxis and autos...The drivers and other crew of the PSV should be duly verified by the police. These buses and PSV may be equipped with CCTV cameras as well as GPS system.”
To this, the government agencies had said in an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court, that the Transport Department had issued 24-hour service permits to approximately 3,500 radio taxis; 3,684 economic radio taxis; 6,879 yellow and black taxis; and 78,105 TSR. It said more stringent permit condition have been prescribed for PSV.
The affidavit came to be filed in a writ petition, titled Nandita Dhar Vs. Union of India, regarding women safety and eve-teasing. Advocate Gaurav Bansal, who is pursuing the petition, said: “The Uber rape case shows the sad state of affairs. Every claim the government made before the court on women’s security in public vehicles is just on paper.”
The Commission has also noted that “there is a lack of coordination between the Transport Department of GNCTD [Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi] and the Delhi Police. You are requested to ensure that coordination issues are sorted out on a regular basis. A forum may be created where Transport Department officials and the Delhi Traffic Police officials meet at least once a week to sort out coordination issues and share information.”