Cab companies can't be blamed for misdeeds of drivers, says Delhi high court
GN Staff | July 15, 2015
Telling the Delhi government to adopt to the technology, the Delhi high court on Wednesday told app-based taxi service provider, Ola cabs that it was inclined to allow only CNG-based cabs to provide point to point service in the national capital.
The court also suggested to the city government to do away with the ban on cab service providers, saying they cannot be blamed for illegal acts of the cab drivers, who were given all India permits (AIP) by the authorities concerned.
The state government must hear fresh pleas of the app-based cab services for grant of licence.
The High Court had on June 8 set aside the Delhi government's order rejecting Uber's application for licence. The decision effectively meant that Uber could re-apply for licence.
Some app-based cab services like Uber were banned in 2014 after an Uber cab driver allegedly raped a woman in Delhi. A 27-year-old woman in Delhi was allegedly raped by a driver of the cab service when he was dropping her home in December 2014.
"If AIP was given to wrong person, he (OLA) is not to be blamed. You can't put burden on him (OLA) if AIP was given to a criminal. The cross has to be borne by police and government," Justice Manmohan said, and added, "But CNG requirement has to be complied with."
"If it is point to point in Delhi, the cab has to run on CNG. I am very clear about it. Your competitors run on CNG, so how can you run on diesel? Run on CNG or not at all," the judge said.
The court suggested to the Delhi government to do away with the ban on such service providers as their technology has been working the world over, is well-recognised and is a "boon for consumers", and to hear them afresh on their plea to allow them to ply.
While appreciating app-based cabs services' benefits, like presence of GPS for tracking purposes, reduction in number of private vehicles due to faster and cheaper availability of such taxis and their employment potential, the court said vehicles plying under this technology have to run on CNG.
"Prima facie I am not going to allow diesel vehicles to run in Delhi through this methodology (of app-based cab service). You see pollution levels are on rise in the city," it said.
The court said that policy of the government was not keeping pace with change in technology and asked it to show such companies fell under the scheme and listed the matter for further hearing on July 27.
"You (government) have not taken web-based taxi services into account," it said and added, "Don't shut them out because you can't deal with it (technology)."
The court was hearing a plea of ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd, which provides service under OLA brand, that it is not amenable to the Delhi government's recently modified Radio Taxi Scheme as cabs under it already have AIPs.
The company said since cabs under it have AIPs, they do not need to get additional permission to ply in Delhi. The company said that as per supreme court orders, cabs only have to comply with Euro-II norms and CNG was not a mandatory requirement.
The Delhi government opposed the contention and told the court that such companies are amenable to the scheme and thus, have to run on CNG and also have to verify antecedents of their drivers. The modified scheme imposes various mandatory requirements including having prefixed calibrated meters, a GPS device and running on CNG, on the companies for grant of licence.
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