In an interim relief to app-based cab companies, Delhi High Court Wednesday allowed them to ply diesel-run taxis from point to point in the national capital till March 1 next year by when they will have to shift completely to compressed natural gas (CNG).
Justice Manmohan further said companies like Ola and Uber which are willing to give an undertaking that they will phase out their diesel cabs within stipulated time frame, will only be allowed to operate till next year.
However, it made clear that for those companies which will not give an undertaking with regard to phasing out of their diesel cabs from capital roads, its July 29 order has to be enforced strictly.
The court was also of the view that imposing a ban is not a practical solution because in the end public suffers, so some reasonable time has to be given to the companies. “At least one chance should be given to them (companies) as they are willing to shift to CNG. Entire public transport will be shifting to CNG, so some time needs to be given to them, otherwise the public will be put to inconvenience. I do not want public to suffer,” the judge said.
“Those who are willing to give me undertaking, I will give them time. Those who are not, my order passed in case of Ola will apply to them with immediate effect,” the judge added. The court passed the interim order while hearing a plea filed by Association of Radio Taxis, represented by senior advocate Nidesh Gupta, who contended that the court’s order upholding a ban on diesel cabs providing point-to-point service in the national capital was being implemented only against Ola while other app-based taxi services were violating it with impunity.
Hearing which the court Tuesday had asked Uber to take instruction on this aspect of the time frame in which they will phase out diesel taxis.
Meanwhile, the court asked Uber India, represented through senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, who said that it can replace the diesel taxis with CNG cabs within six months, to give details with regard to the manner in which they will be phasing out their diesel cabs by March 1.
It also asked the cabs companies present in court besides Uber and Ola to give some suggestions to the court about the mechanism, by which the facts and figures can be verified by the state transport department.