New Delhi, Jan 21: Delhi High Court today asked the city government why websites of app-based cabs cannot be blocked on a PIL alleging that these taxi services were operating despite the government banning them.
"Why can't it be done (blocking the sites)? You can block the sites. There is a wing of Delhi Police working on that. You get instructions and file an affidavit," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said. The court also issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and the city police seeking their responses by February 25, the next date of hearing.
The petition by Harkesh Gupta, filed through advocate Rajat Sehgal has contended that the January 1 order (banning app-based cabs) of the government is being violated by various app-based cab services which continue to operate and offer their services through their sites.
Delhi government, on the other hand, argued it is taking action against those cabs which were found operating despite the ban by seizing/impounding them. However, the petition has sought that apart from seizing the cabs, the sites of these companies should also be blocked. The city government had earlier told the court that the ban on app-based taxi services will continue and vehicles violating it will be seized as per its January 1 order.
The government had passed its order on a representation by US-based cab service provider Uber, pursuant to high court's December 24 order when it had asked the cab company to approach the transport department. Uber, which works through a mobile app, had challenged the December 8 order of the city government banning Uber and 20 other such companies, including Ola Cabs, from operating in Delhi following the rape of a 27-year-old woman executive on December 5 night by a driver of Uber taxi.
The January 1 order had also said that since Uber operates diesel/petrol run vehicles, it is violating the Supreme Court direction that the All India Tourist Permit cabs in Delhi should run on CNG. The department, however, had also said that Uber "may apply (for operating) under the modified Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006". Uber had, on January 6, withdrawn its plea challenging the December order of the government banning it.