THREE days after a 27-year-old woman was allegedly raped by the driver of a cab booked through Uber, the Delhi government on Monday banned the company from running its operations in the city. The government said the cab-booking service, headquartered in San Francisco, was carrying out its business in contravention of the Motor Vehicle (MV) Act, 1988.
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.
In its statement, 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.”
The police verification has since been found to be forged (see accompanying report).
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior official said, “The verification is for registration of the vehicle. It is the responsibility of the person seeking the registration of his vehicle to procure clearance from the police. The vehicle is registered in the name of the permit holder. In this case, the driver (accused Shiv Kumar Yadav) was the permit-holder.”
In its statement, the transport department said, “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.”
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.
In 2010, Delhi’s transport department floated an Economy Radio Taxi Scheme. The six radio taxi services registered under this scheme are Easy cabs, Mega cabs, Meru, Chanson, Yo cabs and Air.
The scheme lists a series of requirements: the driver must have studied till Class X at least and should have no criminal antecedents, permit holder will be held responsible for quality of drivers, their police verification and behaviour. The employers are also required to ensure that the drivers are safe, reliable and trustworthy.
In addition, the “permit holder and driver shall be jointly or individually responsible for any offence or crime which has been committed by a person, including the driver, using the said vehicle.”
“It is not mandatory for all radio taxi services to operate under the government’s scheme. If somebody has a fleet of duly registered vehicles and they have an understanding with their passengers, they too can run their own taxi service,” said a transport department official.
Senior transport department officials said they would now consider bringing those taxi services running outside the government’s scheme under some regulation in order to bring more accountability.
Driver a repeat offender
The 32-year-old taxi driver, who allegedly raped an executive on Friday night, would not have been behind the wheel of the Uber taxi had the US-based company run a background check and got police verification done as he had earlier been jailed too in a rape case. Meanwhile, the Delhi government has banned with immediate effect all operations by private cab service Uber in the city following the alleged rape incident.
Shiv Kumar Yadav, who was arrested on Sunday, in his home town Mathura, is a repeat offender, it was revealed during his initial interrogation by the police. He has allegedly told the police that he had spent seven months in jail in a rape case which was filed against him in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area in 2011.
“He claims that he was later acquitted in the case. We are verifying these claims,” said a police official. Yadav will be produced before a local court on Monday and his police custody will be sought for further investigation and questioning. He was brought to Delhi last night after being arrested from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, about 160 km from the national capital.