Less than 3% of taxi drivers in Mumbai have been verified

Police claim addresses were incomplete in details of more than 20,000 of 26,000-odd drivers handed over to them by RTO

The process of making women feel safer while taking taxis in the city seems to be moving along at a snail’s pace. Nearly two months after the Mumbai police began the drive following the Uber rape case in early December, they have managed to carry out the verification of only 1,300 taxi drivers a figure which is less than 3% of the 45,000-odd taxis in the city.

The city has around 45,000 taxis. Officials say verifying the antecedents of the driver is a time-consuming process. File pic
The city has around 45,000 taxis. Officials say verifying the antecedents of the driver is a time-consuming process. File pic

Of these, character certificates were issued to 836 drivers, while 464 were denied the document because of improper address details, criminal backgrounds and, in one, case, because the driver, whose details were given to the police by the RTO, had passed away.

The Mumbai police claimed that they had got details of around 26,901 taxi drivers from the RTO, of which details of 20,237 were not proper and they were sent back as the addresses were not complete.

“For the remaining 6,664, we started the verification process and have completed it for around 1,300 till date, of which we have given character certificates in 836 cases and 464 were rejected,” said DCP Dhanajay Kulkarni, spokesperson of the Mumbai Police.

Officials said that out of the 464 rejections, around 430 took place on the grounds that proper address was not given while getting permits from RTOs and some were rejected because of criminal backgrounds. One of the drivers had passed away.

The police said the Special Branch of the Mumbai Police is conducting the verification with the help of local police stations, where the drivers’ criminal backgrounds are being checked and character certificates are being rejected if they are found to have one.

The process is important because Shiv Kumar Yadav, the Uber taxi driver who had allegedly raped the 27-year-old woman in Delhi, had a criminal background which had gone unnoticed. “It’s a time consuming process as we don’t have a software where we can just enter a person’s name and check his criminal background.

We have to check it manually with the local police. We also visit the driver’s address to verify its authenticity,” said a police officer involved in the process. Officials claimed the data gathered in this way will also help find offending taxi drivers in the future. The city has around 45,000 taxis. Officials say verifying the antecedents of the driver is a time-consuming process. File pic

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