Delhi High Court has revoked Delhi Government’s ban on Uber cabs, urging the authorities to issue guidelines instead, for the app-based cab services to abide to. The U.S. based Company can now operate in the capital city and reapply for a license.
"I don't know if there should be a complete ban. I have doubts about it. How can you (Delhi government) stall someone like this. You can grant a conditional permission," Justice Manmohan said.
Court took note of the fact that two other app-based cab services - Apra Cabs India Pvt. Ltd. and Serendipity Infolabs Pvt. Ltd. - have already been given permission to operate on June 11. It hence directed the transport department to impose necessary conditions on Uber, in accordance with law, if it was inclined to grant a license to the company.
It further directed that in case Uber’s stand is not clear, the Government will provide it with an opportunity to clarify its stand. The court gave Delhi government the liberty to write to Uber, within ten days, informing the company about the "requirements it has to satisfy".
Meanwhile, the Association of Radio Taxis said Uber has to give an affidavit that cabs it was aggregating are running on CNG.
The association had also contended that Uber's plea was not maintainable as the application for license which was rejected was filed by one Ankit Goel on behalf of Resource Expert India Pvt. Ltd. (REIPL) which has not given any undertaking that it will only operate CNG-based cabs.
Rajiv Nayar, appearing for Uber, opposed the contention, saying REIPL was its subsidiary and the company's petition in the high court was supported by an affidavit by Ankit Goel.
The court, thereafter, said Uber "has the locus standi to maintain the petition as REIPL in its application (for license) of 22 January, 2015, had disclosed that it was asubsidiary of Uber".
Welcoming the court’s Wednesday decision, Uber Delhi general manager Gagan Bhatia said: “We always had immense faith in the country's judiciary and welcome the order of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court invalidating the coercive actions against our driver-partners, actions which have affected thousands of drivers and their families in Delhi who are dependent on Uber's technology for a better livelihood.
We emphasize the need for sector-specific regulation for technology-based aggregators in the country. We are committed to working with the government to develop a regulatory framework that encourages innovation, provides consumers with more choice, drivers with more economic opportunity, while creating a safer transportation environment for everyone.”
Delhi Government had rejected the applications for licenses by two app-based taxi services on June 3.
In December last year, Delhi Government had issued a public notice stating that the web-based technology services plying in the NCR were prohibited until they get a license from the transport department. This prohibition was challenged by the web based services, stating they were not given an opportunity to have their case heard.
Uber’s license was cancelled for not complying with the provisions of the recently amended Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006.
The amendment was brought about in response to an allegation of rape levied by a woman executive against an Uber cab driver. This scheme imposes various mandatory requirements - including having prefixed calibrated meters, a GPS device and running on CNG.
In another such incident, a Delhi-based woman reported an alleged indecent act by the driver of Taxi for Sure while driving her to Faridabad from Saket. The Delhi Government had then issued a statement condemning the alleged negligence by these web based cab services in ensuring the safety of women passengers.
You may read: Lack of legal compliance and non-payment of tax by Uber brings to the forefront the lacunae in law and lack in implementation of the existing law- By Gaurav Pathak
You may read more of our coverage of the Uber case here.