App-based taxi services like Ola are playing “hide and seek” with the police and transport department, AAP government Monday told Delhi High Court. Also Read - Uber cab service resumed in 31 cities in India with new Lockdown 4.0 guidelinesAlso Read - Uber launches 'Uber Connect' package delivery service to rival Dunzo and Swiggy Genie
The submission was made before Justice Manmohan by Delhi government which said it was “handicapped” in taking action against app-based cab companies since the taxis operated by them carried no marks identifying for whom they worked. Delhi government’s additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan also told the court that when the drivers are questioned, they claim to have All India Taxi Permits (AITPs). Also Read - Uber to operate 'Essential' cab service to hospitals and pharmacy stores in 4 cities
“We are totally handicapped in taking action against them (app-based cab companies). Vehicles are not identified. If you check with driver, he will deny working for them and we cannot always check with the passengers. “It’s a total mess. It’s like hide and seek. Today we cannot impound a single vehicle as the cabs cannot be identified,” Ahmed told the court.
He also said Delhi government would be filing a contempt petition against the app-based cab companies for violating court orders. The government also filed an affidavit contending that Ola was “not only flagrantly violating the ban orders, it is also running its taxis in contravention of legal parameters provided for running taxis in Delhi”.
Meanwhile, an Association of Radio Taxi Operators alleged that while Ola was claiming it was not using diesel cabs, such vehicles were being used by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Taxi for Sure. “Entire fleet of Ola has been diverted to Taxi for Sure,” senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, appearing for the association, said. The association also claimed that though Ola claimed its app was modified to provide travel within and outside Delhi, it was being misused as people were getting dropped within the city after opting for traveling outside the capital. It said court orders were being subverted in this manner.
The court observed the misuse could be by a customer or driver and told Ola to check whether this was happening and, if yes, how it intended to deal with it. It also suggested to Ola to consider sharing an order placed by a customer with the police or transport department in real time so the authorities can curb misuse of the app. It listed the matter for further hearing on October 13.
Recently, the association had told a division bench of the high court that its order upholding a ban on diesel cabs providing point-to-point service in the city was being implemented only against Ola while other app-based taxi services were violating it with impunity.