NEW DELHI—Questioning the ban on certain app- based cab services here, the Delhi High Court today set aside an order of the city government, by which Uber's application for licence to ply in the national capital was rejected, and asked the transport department to impose conditions on the company to operate.
"I don't know if there should be a complete ban. I have doubts about it. How can you (Delhi government) stall someone like this. You can grant a conditional permission," Justice Manmohan said.
The court also said since the high court on June 11 had set aside Delhi government's June 3 order, by which application for licence of two other app-based taxi services -- Apra Cabs India Pvt Ltd and Serendipity Infolabs Pvt Ltd (Taxi for Sure) -- were rejected, Uber India Technology Pvt Ltd was "entitled" to a similar relief.
It said as Delhi government has not challenged the June 11 order, it cannot "discriminate" against Uber, when relief has been given to Apra and Serendipity.
The court gave Delhi government the liberty to write to Uber, within ten days, informing the company about the "requirements it has to satisfy".
"If the GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) is not satisfied with the response, it will give the petitioner (Uber) one opportunity to further be heard and give clarification. A decision will thereafter be taken on the application made by petitioner and communicated to them not later than four weeks thereafter," it said and disposed of Uber's plea challenging the June 3 order.
The court also told the Transport Department of Delhi government to impose any condition on Uber, in accordance with the law if it was inclined to grant licence to the company and told the app-based cab service provider that it will have to comply with the conditions.
The Delhi government had cancelled the licence application of Uber for not complying with the provisions of the recently amended Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006.
The amendment was introduced after certain app-based cab companies were banned in the capital following an Uber cab driver allegedly raping a finance executive in December last year.
The modified scheme imposes various mandatory requirements, including having prefixed calibrated meters, a GPS device and running on CNG, on the companies for grant of licence.
The court told Delhi government to strictly impose the condition that all commercial vehicles plying in the national Capital shall run on CNG, after an Association of Radio Taxi Operators contended that the app-based cab companies, which are acting as taxi aggregators, are running diesel vehicles.
During the hearing, advocate Naushad Ahmed, appearing for Delhi government, told the court that Uber's application was rejected as it had not complied with statutory requirements under the Motor Vehicle Act as well as the modified Radio Taxi Scheme and the Supreme Court's direction that commercial vehicles in the city have to run on CNG.
Meanwhile, the Association of Radio Taxis said Uber has to give an affidavit that cabs it was aggregating are running on CNG.
The association had also contended that Uber's plea was not maintainable as the application for licence which was rejected was filed by one Ankit Goel on behalf of Resource Expert India Pvt Ltd (REIPL) which has not given any undertaking that it will only operate CNG-based cabs.
Rajiv Nayar, appearing for Uber, opposed the contention, saying REIPL was its subsidiary and the company's petition in the high court was supported by an affidavit by Ankit Goel.
The court, thereafter, said Uber "has the locus standi to maintain the petition as REIPL in its application (for licence) of January 22, 2015, had disclosed that it was a subsidiary of Uber".
"This court is of the view that as facts of the present case are similar to that of Apra, decided on June 11, petitioner (Uber) is entitled to relief as directed in that one...Further, this court finds that since the June 3 order is based on sole ground that they are not complying with ban, which reasoning has not been found to be legally tenable, this court grants similar relief to petitioner," it said.
On June 17, the high court had refused to grant any interim relief to Uber on its plea challenging rejection of application for licence to operate in the national capital, saying that it was not supposed to ply if it did not have any permit.