Delhi High Court today left it to the Delhi government to see if the notifications on taxi and auto rickshaw fares were properly followed, saying it cannot interfere into it and the issue has to be regulated by the concerned authorities.
The court observed this while hearing an application filed by auto rickshaw drivers in which they alleged that app-based cab aggregators, like Uber and Ola, were charging much less than the fare fixed in government notifications affecting their livelihood.
"If auto rickshaws or cabs are not charging properly, how can a court interfere in it," Justice J R Midha said, adding, "How can courts regulate all this? This has to be done by the authorities."
The court further said it was of the prima facie view that government should look into it and it would not be appropriate for the court to regulate the implementation of notifications.
"The government is empowered to do whatever is necessary. This court cannot interfere in it," the court said.
Delhi government's senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that these app-based cab aggregators would have to abide by the government notifications on fares.
He said if there was any violation of law, the court can interfere in the matter.
"They (taxi aggregators) will have to abide by law of the land. They cannot do whatever they want," Mehra said, adding, "how can an aggregator say that they would not comply with the notifications."
"They have not got the licence to do whatever they want," he said, adding that the Supreme Court has said that all these operators would have to adhere to the government guidelines.
In the application, it was claimed that these app-based cab aggregators were "charging fares as low as Rs 5 per km which is less than half of the notified fares".
It further claimed that while these aggregators have put the livelihood of auto rickshaw drivers in "grave danger" by charging fares less than the autos, the government "is doing nothing to protect their interests and has utterly failed to implement its own notification vis-a-vis taxi aggregators."
Magic Sewa had earlier alleged in the court that certain unlicensed taxi aggregators "have been disdainfully violating" government's notification on fares by charging very low amounts like Rs five per km or as high as Rs 38 per km."
The court had asked the government to convene a meeting with representatives of app-based cab operators, which are allegedly operating "illegally", to see if they are interested in getting fresh licence from the government.
The government had told the court that a meeting was called but certain issues still remain to be clarified and they were going to bring a regulation which will cover all taxi operators.
Ola and Uber, however, opposed the contention raised in the petition, saying they have all India permit licence and are not governed by Delhi government's scheme as this lies in the central government's domain.