Radio cab services in Delhi are set to take a huge hit with the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directing the transport department to impose its January ban on app-based taxi service Ola cabs.
The bench of Justice Manmohan, which on Tuesday had pulled up Ola owner ANI technologies, dismissed the company’s plea for interim relief from the ban on Wednesday. It also noted the “extreme stand” taken by the company, which had refused to comply with the conditions suggested by the court and the radio cabs scheme issued by the Delhi government.
The bench also said Ola cabs had continued to operate “with impunity” and pulled up the company for “inordinate delay of six months in filing the plea”.
The Delhi transport department, in its January 1 order, had declined permission to Ola to operate in Delhi, claiming that it did not comply with the Radio Taxi scheme, 2006. Ola filed its petition, challenging the order in June, along with a plea for interim relief.
The court, however, took exception to the cab service continuing to operate despite the ban. “The petitioner believes that its vehicles do not ply on the roads but fly in the air,” noted the bench in its order, adding that “the ban has to be respected and complied with till it is set aside by a court of competent
“The court has gained the impression that the petitioner does not intend to abide by any directions given by any authority,” commented the court, while dismissing the interim plea.
The main petition, in which Ola has challenged the ban order, is scheduled for hearing on October 5.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the court had also raised the question of whether diesel-fuelled All India Tourist Permit (AITP) taxis could be allowed to ply in Delhi despite the Supreme Court’s orders. The counsel for Ola, however, argued that the apex court ban was with regard to the emissions, and that the cars used by Ola complied with Euro-IV emission norms.
Observing that “Delhi is regarded as one of the most polluted cities in the world and that the quality of diesel has been adversely commented upon by the SC”, the bench held that it would “err on the side of caution” and “not lift the ban till it is convinced that there is no ban on AITP diesel taxis to ply in Delhi”.
Sources in the transport department have said the ban will affect all radio-taxi services which operate diesel vehicles.
Ola, in a statement, said, “We respect the law of the land and the guidelines of the judiciary at all times…We will continue to work with the authorities to fulfill our commitment to the ecosystem.”
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