The Chandigarh administration has informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it cannot allow plying of web-based taxi service provider Olac cabs or any other operators from point-to-point within city limits who have not registered themselves or are not otherwise eligible to operate, under the Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006.
Ola, which is a web-based taxi service, have also come under heat after the union home minister Rajnath Singh had on December 9 advised all states to stop operations of web-based taxi services. Union home minister’s advise had come after a rape incident of a 25-year-old woman passenger in Delhi on December 6 by another web-based taxi service Uber’s driver. After this many states across the country had banned Uber taxi services.
Though the Chandigarh State Transport Authority (STA) has issued notices to Uber and Meru Cabs to stop its services in the city but since the high court had put its stay in Ola as their services have not been banned by the STA.
In his reply Mahavir Kaushik, Secretary, STA, Chandigarh, has informed that it is open to the company owning Olacabs, ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd., to come forward and apply under the scheme rather than finding ways and means to bypass the same.
ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. had approached the high court challenging Chandigarh administration’s order of August 21 for stopping its operations. The high court had on September 4 put stay on Chandigarh administration’s order that had facilitated Olacabs to ply its taxis in the city.
However, Kaushik in his reply has submitted that the business module projected by the petitioner company is upheld, the STA would
have no mechanism to control or regulate the individual performance of cab operators, fixation of fares, unfair business practices
etc. and the Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006, would be rendered redundant.
Though the STA Secretary’s reply was filed in the high court registry a day earlier but the same was not listed by the registry and did not come up with the case file before the court headed by Justice Rameshwar Malik on Friday. Hence the case was adjourned for next hearing to February 2 next. But since the reply is likely to come up before the court next week, if satisfied, the court can vacate its stay.
The petitioner company had submitted that its services are governed by the rules and regulations issued by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology where it has been registered as “Other Service Provider”. Therefore, it is not obliged to get itself registered under the “Radio Taxi Scheme 2006” with the STA, Chandigarh.
The company had also alleged that the provisions of the “Radio Taxi Scheme 2006” are monopolistic in nature and in violation of Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India.
The court was informed that the company is only a facilitator and its business module provides a mobile based platform/web based service accessible via the internet that ensures facility of quick access/hiring of taxis.