In a setback to app-based cab service provider Ola, Delhi High Court today dismissed the company’s plea challenging a single-judge order upholding the city government’s ban on such taxi services.
“Appeal dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.
The single-judge in his July 29 interim order had directed Delhi government’s transport department and traffic police to “strictly enforce” the January 1 ban.
The single-judge had also sought an undertaking from ANI Technologies, which operates under the brand name of Ola, that it will comply with the court’s order upholding the ban.
The division bench had on August 4 reserved its order after hearing arguments on Ola’s plea alleging that the single-judge had overlooked Supreme Court’s orders on the kind of taxis that can run on city’s roads.
ANI Technologies had told the bench that the apex court had clarified it has not prohibited running of taxis, which are Euro II compliant or follow even better emission standards and that it has not ordered conversion to CNG.
Ola had argued that other taxi organisations, which are not app-based, come under Radio Taxi Scheme and they own cabs they operate, while Ola does not own the vehicles that run under their brand and only connects the taxis with customers.
The Delhi government had said the All India Tourist Permit (AITP) vehicles that operate under Ola brand are meant for tourist destinations and not point-to-point service in city.
The high court’s single-judge had on July 29 admonished Ola for not complying with the ban imposed on it by state government and refused to grant it any interim relief.
The court had also directed “strict” enforcement of the January 1 order, saying it has been “violated with impunity” by the company, from which it had sought affidavit undertaking to comply with its direction.
Delhi government’s January 1, 2015, order had banned operation of app-based cab services till they complied with the guidelines of Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006 which was amended on December 26 last year.
The single-judge had refused to provide any relief to Ola, saying its plea against ban order was not only “inordinately delayed” by six months, but during the period it had violated the ban with “impunity”.
The court had earlier questioned how Ola was operating in the national capital when the city government’s order banning them had not been stayed and warned of a shutdown if it thought it was above the law.
Ola has contended that it was not amenable to the Delhi government’s modified Radio Taxi Scheme as cabs contracted by it have AITPs and thus, it does not need to apply for licence to operate in the city.
It has also said as per the Supreme Court order of 1998, cabs only had to comply with Euro-II (and now Euro IV) norms and switching to CNG was not a mandatory requirement.