SC stays bike taxi operations of Rapido, Uber in Delhi

- June 12, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Supreme Court suspends Delhi HC's interim order that allowed bike taxis in the national capital; urges HC to decide the case expeditiously

NEW DELHI, INDIA NOVEMBER 10: A view of bicycle rush at Subhash Madain MCD parking, on November 10, 2020 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court has issued a stay on the High Court order that permitted bike-taxi aggregators Rapido and Uber to operate in Delhi.

The court has directed the Delhi government not to take any coercive action against these aggregators until a new policy is formulated.

A vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal granted the aggregators the liberty to request an urgent hearing of their pleas by the Delhi High Court.

The Supreme Court’s bench stayed the May 26 order of the Delhi High Court and noted that the Delhi government has assured that the final policy will be notified before the end of July.

The Supreme Court was hearing two separate petitions filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government challenging the High Court’s order, which prevented any coercive action against the bike-taxi aggregators until the final policy was notified.

Last week, the Supreme Court had sought a response from the central government regarding the Delhi government’s pleas.

Earlier, the senior advocate representing the Delhi government argued that the High Court’s decision to stay the government’s notice until the final policy is notified is essentially granting Rapido’s writ petition.

On May 26, the High Court issued a notice to the Delhi government in response to Rapido’s plea challenging a law that excludes two-wheelers from being registered as transport vehicles.

The High Court directed that no coercive action should be taken against the bike-taxi aggregator until the final policy is notified. The court listed Rapido’s plea on August 22 for the completion of pleading and stated that the stay would remain in effect until the final policy is notified.

In its petition before the High Court, Roppen Transportation Services Private Limited, the company operating Rapido, argued that the Delhi government’s order to immediately cease the operation of non-transport two-wheelers for carrying passengers on hire-and-reward or for commercial purposes was passed without any reason or rationale.

The Delhi government had previously issued a public notice warning bike-taxis against operating in the city and stating that violations would result in aggregators being fined up to Rs 1 lakh. Rapido has also challenged a showcause notice issued by the city government, arguing that it violates various fundamental and constitutional rights, as well as the principle of natural justice.

The plea further stated that the conduct of the city government goes against the intent and objective of the central government regarding the issuance of licenses to aggregators, as laid down in the Motor Vehicles Act and the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, 2020.

The plea pointed out that the transport department is yet to establish its own guidelines regarding the operation of non-transport two-wheelers as transport vehicles for the purpose of aggregation and ride-sharing/ride-pooling.

The plea emphasised that the MoRTH Guidelines expressly allow vehicle pooling in non-transport vehicles to reduce traffic congestion, automobile pollution, and achieve effective asset utilization, unless prohibited by the state government. It argued that a blanket ban on the petitioner’s services has a significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of a large number of vehicle owners, riders, and daily commuters. (With inputs from PTI)