Rapido can continue operations in T.N.: HC

App will be available for download on Google, Apple platforms

Updated - August 02, 2019 01:15 am IST

Published - August 02, 2019 01:14 am IST - CHENNAI

Bike taxi service (Rapido), in Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu on May 29, 2018.
Photo: A.Muralitharan

Bike taxi service (Rapido), in Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu on May 29, 2018. Photo: A.Muralitharan

A Division Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday stayed the operation of an order passed by a single judge of the court on July 18 restraining Hyderabad-based Roppen Transportation Services from operating their mobile app Rapido, which facilitates sharing of pillion seats in motorcycles, in Tamil Nadu until the State government frames regulations for services such as car pooling, bike taxi and call taxi.

Justices Vineet Kothari and C.V. Karthikeyan also stayed the operation of a letter written by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime Cell, Central Crime Branch here to Google LLC and Apple India Private Limited on July 6 requesting them to remove Rapido from their app stores. The letter had led to Apple removing the app from its platform and making it impossible for Rapido to operate in other States too.

The interim orders were passed after Rapido explained to the judges the procedure of booking bikes through the app and submitted that all safety measures such as insistence on the riders wearing helmets and possessing valid insurance were being followed by the appellant firm. Since Advocate General Vijay Narayan could not appear, the procedures were explained in the presence of Special Government Pleader A.N. Thambidurai.

Pointing out that the government had not filed any counter affidavit either before the single judge or before them, the Division Bench granted two weeks’ time for filing the counter affidavit. “Respondent State may also disclose in its counter affidavit as to when it is likely to frame specific regulations for bike sharing app operators as has been done by other States such as Telangana, Rajasthan and Chandigarh,” the judges ordered.

The interim stay by the Bench would now allow Rapido and similar bike sharing applications to operate in the State until further orders to be passed by the court. In its submission before the court, the appellant company stated that as of now it was operating the app without earning any profits at present. It only permits the owners of motorcycles to offer their empty pillion seats to other app users and collect fuel expenses from them.

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