Following the alleged rape of a 27-year-old woman executive in a cab booked through Uber on Friday night, the Delhi government on Monday banned the company from operating in the city. A case of cheating, under Section 420 of the IPC, has also been registered against Uber.
The ban came just hours after Uber’s San Francisco-based CEO Travis Kalanick issued a statement stating that the company would “work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programmes”.
Later in the evening, the transport department also banned other private radio taxi services — barring the six registered under the Delhi government’s Economy Radio Taxi Scheme — from operating in the city. The six radio taxi services that are registered are Easy Cabs, Mega Cabs, Meru, Chanson, Yo Cabs and Air Cabs.
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“All other transport/ taxi service providers through web-based technology, who are not recognised, are prohibited from providing such services in the NCT of Delhi till they get licence/ permission from the transport department,” said a statement issued by S Roy Biswas, Deputy Commissioner (Transport).
Banned in Delhi, facing national shutdown, Uber blames system operating in Delhi include Ola Cabs, Taxi for Sure and TaxiPixi.
Sources said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs is considering issuing an advisory to all states to ban cab-booking services like Uber.
Meanwhile, the accused driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, who was arrested from Mathura on Sunday, was sent to three-day police custody by a Delhi court on Monday.
The government said Uber was carrying out its business in contravention of the Motor Vehicle (MV) Act, 1988. The company’s regional manager, NCR, Gagan Bhatia, who was questioned by the police, reportedly admitted that they did not conduct any background checks or police verification of the drivers.
“He told us that they do not do any background checks for their drivers. They only rely on the documents submitted by the drivers to the company. They said that they do not even verify their addresses but rely on the addresses on which their bank accounts have been opened. They never check the authenticity of their addresses,” said DCP, North, Madhur Verma.
Bhatia reportedly told the police that they provide their drivers with an iPhone 4s which has an Uber application that cannot be deleted. However, if the phone is switched off, the GPS also gets switched off. “He admitted that their cars do not have GPS systems and the GPS only works through their phones. If the phone is off, so is the GPS. There is no way to track the vehicle then. We have registered a case of cheating against them and investigations are on,” said Verma.
Bhatia also reportedly told the police that Uber is not a radio taxi service but an “aggregator” of cabs.
Announcing the ban on Uber earlier in the day, the transport department said that taking into account the “horrific crime committed by the driver” and the violations by the company, it “has banned all activities relating to providing any transport service by http://www.Uber.com with immediate effect. The transport department has also blacklisted the company from providing any transport service in the NCT (National Capital Territory) in future.”
The statement added: “Condemning the unfortunate and heinous crime committed by the driver of an All India Tourist Permit (AITP) holder of a taxi bearing registration mark of DL1YD 7910, the transport department has cancelled the said permit of the taxi, registration certificate of the said taxi and driving licence of the said driver. The permit was granted on May 28, 2014 after due verification of character and antecedents of the permit holder.”
However, the police have now said that the police verification document was forged.
“An AITP taxi was provided by M/s Uber on the request of the commuter through the Uber Web application for a local journey within Delhi which was in contravention of the MV Act, 1988 and rules framed thereunder. M/s Uber also misled the commuter about the nature of the taxi service offered by the Uber App,” said the transport department.
According to transport department officials, a vehicle with an AITP permit can travel across states in India, but cannot be used for travel within a particular state.