December 25, 2014 12:36:57 pm
A day after giving permission to Ola Cabs to operate, the Delhi High Court refused to give similar relief to Uber, but asked the Transport department to consider the representation by Uber against the order to ban and blacklist the company.
The court of Justice Vibhu Bakhru had on Tuesday set aside the December 8 order banning Ola after the company argued it was not a radio taxi operator, but only a technological platform. The court said since Ola was not given an opportunity to be heard, the order against it would be set aside. The court also directed the government to hear the representation by Ola.
On Wednesday, however, the court refused to accept the argument by Uber for similar relief.
The Delhi government and the central government had issued circulars on December 8 after the rape case involving an Uber driver, banning all web-based taxi services not registered with state governments. The state Transport department also issued a circular on December 8, specifically banning and blacklisting Uber for using a taxi with an all-India permit for a local journey in violation of motor vehicle rules.
Senior advocate Rajiv Nayyar, who appeared for Uber, argued that the web-based app should be allowed to function “in parity” with the other services, which had been granted relief. “The impugned order is the same so we should get the same relief,” Nayyar said.
Justice Bakhru, however, noted that Uber collected money directly from customers, which was not the practice followed by Ola and other services. “You take money from customers and give it to drivers. So you are providing the service,” the court said, adding that it was “not issuing a stay”.
The court asked the government to give Uber a detailed hearing on December 29. “We direct that the officer concerned shall treat the petition as a representation,” the court said, adding that a reasoned order should be passed within 10 days.
The court also directed the government to issue its communications regarding the case to the Uber office listed in the plea, after Delhi government standing counsel Zubeda Begum said the government did not have any clear address or contact person for Uber to send communications.
Ola and Uber, in their pleas, have claimed they are not “radio taxi operators” but web-based applications, which serve as a platform to connect customers with taxi operators who have all India tourist permits. They also said they do not come under the Motor Vehicles Act or the radio taxi rules and scheme.
Notice to govt on ‘all-India’ taxis
Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice P S Teji issued notice to the Delhi government and Centre on a PIL, seeking a ban on all taxi services which use cabs having all-India taxi permits for local travel. The plea, filed by lawyer Sanjay Beniwal, claimed diesel-based taxis, which have inter-state travel permits, are not allowed to ply within the capital as the Supreme Court in 2001 had issued orders that only CNG-fuelled commercial vehicles can ply within Delhi.
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