BANGALORE -- An Indian court Wednesday threw out a total ban in New Dehli on Uber Technologies Inc. and its largest competitor. The state government of Delhi had rejected applications by Uber and its local local cab-hailing app competitor ANI Technologies, which operates Ola Cabs, for permits under existing radio-taxi rules. More recently, the authorities had sought to enforce the ban by impounding vehicles running on the networks.
In his order, Justice Manmohan, the Delhi High Court judge, noted: “A total prohibition or a blanket ban on the right to carry on any trade, business or profession should be imposed in the rarest of rare or in exceptional circumstances.” The judge left it open for the Delhi state Transport Department to seek additional information from ride-booking service providers and come up with reasonable restrictions.
The ban was first imposed in December after a woman passenger in a cab that was part of Uber’s network accused her driver of rape. The driver was arrested and is being prosecuted in an Indian court.
“We have always had immense faith in the country's judiciary and welcome the order of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court invalidating the coercive actions against our driver-partners,” Gagan Bhatia, Uber’s general manager in Delhi, said in a statement emailed to International Business Times.
This court decision could pave the way for the California ride-hailing company’s rapid expansion in its largest market after the U.S. Uber announced it planned to spend upward of $50 million to set up an India operations center in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
“We emphasize the need for sector-specific regulation for technology-based aggregators in the country,” Bhatia said. “We are committed to working with the government to develop a regulatory framework that encourages innovation, provides consumers with more choice, drivers with more economic opportunity, while creating a safer transportation environment for everyone.”