Uber challenges city taxi scheme in HC

October 14, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:46 am IST - NEW DELHI:

In a fresh challenge to the Delhi government's attempts to regulate plying of taxis on the city roads, app-based cab service provider Uber India has questioned the city taxi scheme of 2015 with the contention that only the Centre enjoys powers to frame rules applicable to the cabs having the All India Tourist Permit (AITP).

Uber has moved a writ petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the scheme as well as the Transport Department's September 1 order rejecting its application for licence to ply in the Capital. Uber had applied under the radio taxi scheme of 2006 modified in December last year.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, on Tuesday issued notices to the Union government, Delhi government and Delhi traffic police on the petition, asking them to file their replies within four weeks. The Court posted the case for further hearing on November 23.

Uber's petition said it was an aggregator of AITP vehicles which were under the jurisdiction of the Union government. The cab service provider aggregates AITP taxis running on diesel through its mobile app, while the city taxi scheme allows only those cabs which run on compressed natural gas (CNG) to ply on roads in Delhi.

The city taxi scheme, 2015, was introduced by the Aam Aadmi Party government in the Capital with the added safety features on August 26.

Uber counsel Rajiv Nayyar contended that the Supreme Court had in a judgment delivered in 2006 categorically held that only the Centre could legislate on All India Tourist Vehicles and had the power to prescribe rules and regulations regarding AITP. The Delhi government's scheme providing for replacement of diesel taxis with the CNG cabs could not be enforced, he said.

Lawyer Prabhsahay Kaur, appearing for Delhi government, said Uber was violating with impunity the orders of the High Court regarding plying of diesel cabs without meters in the city. She said the illegally operating taxis were being impounded on the city roads. Uber's petition has taken exception to the definition of clean fuel being restricted to CNG and LPG in the city taxi scheme and said the new scheme required the companies like it to share their location, even as this condition did not apply to radio taxis. There were several other “unreasonable restrictions” in the scheme, it said.

The High Court had on July 29 upheld the Delhi government's January 1 order, by which all app-based cab services not conforming to the modified radio taxi scheme were banned from operating in the city. The Bench observed that a similar petition of Uber challenging the radio taxi scheme of 2006 was also listed before the Court. Since the 2015 scheme has replaced the earlier one, the Court dismissed the second petition with the liberty to Uber to file a fresh petition with an amended prayer.

A Division Bench issued notices to the Union government, Delhi government and the Delhi traffic police, asking them to file their replies within four weeks

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