“You don’t ply on the road but fly in the air”; Delhi HC passes scathing order against OLA Cabs
The Delhi High Court is not happy with the rising levels of pollution in the city, with the cab companies operating diesel vehicles contributing to it in no less measure. And that displeasure was witnessed in full force today when a Single Bench of the High Court refused to grant any interim relief to app-based cab service Ola.
Justice Manmohan came down heavily on the Petitioner ANI Technologies that operates cabs under the brand name of OLA and said that the January 1 order of the government had been flouted with ‘impunity’ by the Petitioner, merely because they were under the impression that the (Delhi) government was not competent to pass the order.
“Conduct of the Petitioner shows that its vehicles don’t ply in the road but fly in the air. A ban order has to be respected and followed, only to be set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction…
….since Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and the quality of diesel provided in the city has been adversely commented upon by the Supreme Court in various orders, this Court feels that it should not lift the ban imposed by the State Government.”
The GNCT of Delhi had imposed a blanket ban from January 1 of this year against operation of all app-based cab services until they complied with the amended guidelines of the Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006. The amendment to the Guidelines was carried out in December, 2014. Today, the Bench also directed the Delhi Government to “strictly enforce” its ban order of January.
On Tuesday, ANI Technologies through its counsel Khalid Arshad had submitted before the Court that as per the orders passed by the Supreme Court in various matters and also by the NGT, only those diesel vehicles that were older than 15 years should not be allowed to ply. This effectively meant, Arshad argued, that there was only a restriction on the “age of the vehicle” and not on the type of fuel being used in it.
The Bench had pulled up the company and said that it was trying to ensure that the service is not shut down completely, but if they wanted to take an extreme stand (of not plying CNG vehicles) then there was ‘no other option’ but to shut down their operations. Justice Manmohan had commented,
“Am wondering how are you even plying on the roads for the past six months, despite the ban order. On the last date of hearing, an impression was conveyed to the Court that you were agreeable to ply on CNG. Now you are again urging on the same issue [using diesel cabs]. You are simply using a double barrel gun! Should we continue to have a polluted city?”
The present order of the Court is in stark contrast to its earlier stance towards the company, when it had urged the government to reconsider its decision to ban app-based taxi services.
The Bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on October 5.
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