The child lock feature has been used by some miscreants to trap and harass women passengers, the petitioner had argued.

Child lock systems to be disallowed in Ktaka taxis for womens safety govt tells HCImage for representation
news Women's safety Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 18:00

After the Karnataka High Court asked the state government to respond to a petition by Bangalore Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the Karnataka High Court against child safety locks in cabs to ensure safety of women passengers, the government plans to disengage child locks in taxis.

The Karnataka government has prepared a draft amendment to the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016, in which child locks in cabs will be disallowed from July next year.

After the Law Department vets the draft amendment, it will send its report to the court by October 10. This will apply for all taxis, including tech-based cab aggregators in Karnataka.

The submission was made before a division bench comprising Chief Justive Dinesh Maheshwati and Justice SG Pandit. The bench expressed its disappointment over the multiple adjournments as the government’s counsel sought extensions to the deadlines.  

The petitioner had argued that the child lock feature, originally introduced in the 1980s to prevent children from accidentally opening the car door while sitting in the rear seat, has come to be used by some to trap and harass women passengers in cabs. The child lock prevents the door of the car from being opened from inside, and it can only be unlocked from outside.

According to a report from July, talks were already on to remove the child lock feature over concerns of women’s safety. An automobile expert had said then that new latches would be developed for cars, which will be without the child lock feature, and will be available in a year. While all new vehicles will have this, there will be a provision for replacing child lock systems with this one in older registered vehicles. The regional transport officer will be in charge of ensuring that vehicles don’t have child lock before registering them.

The issue of child locks has come up in other states also. In Delhi for instance, it was made mandatory last year for drivers to paste at least four stickers on their cars asking passengers to disable the child lock feature. Cab drivers in the city would not be able to get their permits unless they complied with this rule.


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