Blame game starts over failure to enforce ban on Uber

New Delhi, Dec 10: Failure to enforce a ban on Uber cab service today triggered a blame game between Delhi Government and Traffic Police with both putting the onus on each other to restrict the US-based company from operating in the city.

Delhi Government's Transport department said it does not have adequate resources to enforce the ban while Traffic Police maintainted that those who announced the action must execute it.

"We have asked the Delhi Traffic police to immediately implement the ban on web-based cab services, including Uber, in the national capital," a Transport Department official told PTI when asked how Uber was operating three days after it was banned.

The Delhi government Monday had announced banning Uber and other app-based taxi services with immediate effect following raging outrage over rape of a 27-year-old woman executive allegedly by an Uber cabbie.

Despite the ban, Uber refused to cease operation and was continuing with its app-based taxi booking service. A senior traffic police official said it was the responsibility of the transport department to implement the ban.

"They (the Delhi Government) should implement the ban as they had announced it." The Transport Department, on the other hand, said it had communicated to Traffic Police to enforce the ban "effectively".

"We have written a letter to traffic police to enforce the ban. It is the concerned authority to restrict the services of the web-based operators," the Transport Department official said.

However, the Traffic Police said it has not received any letter from the Government. "We have not got any letter from transport department. Traffic police is unable to implement such order," it said. 

Cyber expert Pavan Duggal said it may be difficult to implement the ban on web-based cab services in the absence of "appropriate law" on mobile apps in India.

He said Uber can only restrict its app-based taxi booking service on its own as government agencies do not have any mechanism to restrict it only to Delhi.

"It is impossible to ban the web-based cab services as there is no appropriate law under which mobile apps can be monitored and controlled. Besides, there is also no national policy to regulate such services," Duggal said.

He said "to control mobile apps, amendment would be required in the Information Technology Act 2000 and IT Rules."

"Since internet is boundary-less and there is no law to control mobile apps in India, traffic police cannot completely ban such services," he said.

On Monday, Delhi government had banned web-based cab services, which are not recognised, in the national capital and clarified that only Easy Cab, Mega Cab, Meru Cab, Chanson Cab, Yo Cab and Air Cab are licensed with Transport Department for operation 'Radio Taxi' in the NCT of Delhi.

Delhi Police has already filed an FIR against Uber charging it with cheating its customers and defying government orders. Uber's executives have also been questioned by police. In the questioning of its executives, it emerged that the firm has a total of 4,000 drivers on its rolls but it did not have any idea whether the cabbies provided police verification certificates or possesed mandatory Public Service Vehicle (PSV) badges.

The popular taxi booking service provider gives its cab drivers an iPhone with the Uber App. Customers book a cab through the company's App. The system then sends a message to the driver of a cab nearest to the customer and when he accepts the 'assignment', his name, photo and other details of the cab like its registration number is sent to the customer through this App.


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