HC asks Govt, ‘Wait for some time on permits given to taxis aggregators’


The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the AAP government to wait for some more time for the special committee to come out with its report on permits given to taxis and cab aggregators.

“If you (government) have waited so long, wait for some more time till the committee comes with a solution in its report,” said a Bench of Justice Manmohan, which had on August 11 directed companies like Ola and Uber not to indulge in surge pricing from August 22.

The court passed the remark on Friday when the Delhi government said companies like Ola and Uber cannot claim blanket immunity from any coercive action only because the special committee formed as per the court’s directions was examining the issues.

“The petition is misconceived and deserves to be dismissed with costs,” state transport commissioner replied. It said the government has been working on the ‘City Taxi Scheme’ since October to provide a regulatory framework for “app-based taxis”. Giving no details of the scheme as sought by the court, the state merely said “further consultation is ongoing for broader acceptability of all stakeholders” since there was “significant divergence among stakeholders… when suggestions and objections were sought”. “There is a need to reconcile divergent views, keeping in mind the need to provide safe, reliable, reasonably priced and better quality transport for commuters. At the same time there is a need to ensure that regulation needs to provide for orderly development of the sector both in the short and long term,” the state said.

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Justice Manmohan reiterated that if there was any violation of the undertaking by the app-based cab aggregators on surge-pricing, action would be taken.

The Bench, meanwhile, sought a reply from the government on an application moved by Uber seeking directions to the government to not take any coercive action against it and challaning its cabs for not installing calibrated meters as per the government’s policy.

Uber claimed that the government action was aimed at ending its business at the behest of its competitors.

On August 11, the court had ordered that the companies cannot indulge in surge pricing after August 22 and will have to abide by the city taxi scheme.

It had also directed a special committee, set-up by the Centre to examine issues related to permits given to taxis and cab aggregators, to include a senior official each from the Ministry of Information Technology, the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Traffic Police, besides taking advice from a transport expert with Niti Aayog.

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