The Aam Aadmi Party government today informed the Delhi High Court that the policy drafted by a court-appointed panel for regulating app-based cab aggregators, like Ola and Uber, cannot be accepted as it is and it is in the process of formulating its own norms in this regard.
It said that it will "apply its own mind" and implement the policy according to the needs of the national capital and sought two months' time to formulate its own norms.
The submission was made before Justice Manmohan, who then listed the matter for hearing on April 17. The court also asked the Centre to file a report regarding action taken by it to implement the policy framed by the expert panel. It asked for an action taken report after Uber's lawyers, senior advocates Rajiv Nayar and Dayan Krishnan, contended that a legislation based on the policy is likely to be taken up by Parliament in its Budget session.
During the brief hearing, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that the Delhi government is formulating its own norms and all stakeholders can send their representations. He said each State will have to implement the policy by modifying it according to its needs.
We cannot accept it the way it is. We also have to apply our mind, he said.
Earlier, the court had said that such a policy should have minimum interference by the government and market forces should be allowed to operate, as regulation could even "bring in corruption" in this emerging sector. The court had said that any regulatory mechanism that is set up ought to remain in the periphery.
It was hearing a batch of petitions filed by radio taxi operators against the Delhi government for allowing Ola and Uber to operate without any licence while the two companies filed contempt pleas against each other for alleged violation of court orders.
Noticing that the law has not kept pace with changing technology, the court had set up an expert panel to formulate a uniform policy to regulate such companies. Some of the 15 key recommendations by the panel include States facilitating unhindered grant of permits for city taxis and All India Tourist Permit (AITP) without any restriction on numbers, online conversion of compliant personal vehicles to commercial taxis on payment of requisite charges to facilitate use of idle assets, and no regulation on tariff of deluxe taxis which should be determined by market dynamics.
The committee had also suggested that the maximum tariff may be permitted up to three times the minimum tariff and to enhance the availability of taxis at night, the maximum tariff may be allowed up to four times that of minimum tariff between midnight and 5 AM. It had also said that city taxis may continue as street hailing cabs and may also be allowed to ply on the aggregator platform, like Ola or Uber, if they so desire.
The panel had further suggested that AITP taxis may be allowed to operate for all purposes except as street hailing cabs and such vehicles would have to comply with the fuel specified for a city while operating for aggregators for intra city transport on long-term hiring/leasing.