On Monday Firstpost published a report titled:
Centre warns taxi drivers: If you pick up drunk passengers, we’ll catch you
Going by the title, it can be insinuated that the Modi government had brought a strange law wherein they had warned that if taxi drivers took in drunk passengers, they would be penalised. The logic in itself was silly as its prudent for any person in an inebriated state to take a cab as the other scenario of them driving on their own is unlawful and extremely dangerous.
The report in the content then quoted the New Indian Express and claimed that according to some Motor Vehicles driving regulation 2017:
The driver shall strictly comply with the laws for the time being in force relating to the prohibition on the consumption of alcohol and drugs and smoking, and also ensure compliance there by the other crew, riders and passengers if any
The report also carried a quote of V Sureshkumar, senior deputy transport commissioner (Tax), Motor Vehicle Department, Kerala who stated that:
If earlier, the drivers were punished for riding after consuming alcohol, with this new rule, they along with the crew will be subjected to punishment if they ride or drive the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The drivers have to ensure their passengers are not in an inebriated state, otherwise they’ll be booked under the new rule
The quote which was also borrowed by Firstpost from the New Indian Express article was of an employee of Motor Vehicle Department of Kerala. This was strange as if a notification is issued by the Central government, the input should be taken from a Ministry of Road Transport & Highway employee.
On further investigation, it was found that this act by Firstpost could have well been a media hitjob. Incidentally the report which Firstpost had linked back to was about Kerala and had no mention about the Central government or its warning. Then it was found that even NewsX had carried an article on the subject which really puts Firstpost in a tight spot. The NewsX article was titled as:
Drunk passengers? Driver will be booked says Kerala’s new law
Hence the report outright confirms that the law which came into effect from 23rd June was framed by the Kerala government but it has till now desisted from implementing it. Further according to the report, drivers associated with various online cab services had expressed concern about it affecting their revenue considerably. So clearly there was no involvement of the centre or its warning in this localised law.
Incidentally the Firstpost article also contained the footnote that it was based on inputs from PTI which incidentally has been notorious in spreading fake news recently and was questioned by the people.