The Madras high court has stayed the operation of an order of a single judge, which ordered that no private company should be permitted to facilitate the use of private two wheelers and four wheelers for services titled "bike taxi, call taxi or carpooling" through their smart phone applications in Tamil Nadu until the government frames necessary regulations.
A division bench comprising Justices Vineet Kothari and C.V.Karthikeyan granted the interim stay and ordered notice to authorities on an appeal filed by Roppen Transport Services Private Limited, challenging an order of a single judge dated July 18.
Originally the appellant company (owners of mobile app Rapido) filed a petition, challenging the action taken against it by the police. The company was aggrieved against a letter written by Commissioner of Police A.K.Viswanathan to Google LLC and Apple India Private Limited requesting them to disable the mobile app in Tamil Nadu. He also insisted on blocking Rapido app in the state since it was unauthorized. Based on the same, Apple India had removed the app from its app store.
Pointing out that it was up to the petitioner (Roppen Transport Services Private Limited) to resolve the issue with Apple, a single judge had on July 18 said that the app should be blocked in Google Play Store too in so far as Tamil Nadu was concerned.
In an another related case filed by a cab driver, seeking action against use of private vehicles for commercial purposes, the Transport Commissioner had filed a counter affidavit stating that the government was in the process of framing the rules regarding regulation of aggregators of bike taxi, call taxi or carpooling. A proposal in this regard has been sent to the government and it was under consideration, he had added.
Aggrieved by the order of the single judge, the company filed the present appeal.
Senior counsel appearing for the company explained the procedure of booking of bikes through their app "Rapido". He also submitted all safety measures for pillion riders, including insurance for riders and pillion riders, provision of helmet to pillion riders, safety measures for women were ensured by the company.
Pointing out that the state has not filed any counter affidavits to the writ petition filed by the company either before the single judge or before this bench in the present appeal, the bench directed the state government to file its counter affidavits within 2 weeks. The state may also disclose in its counter affidavit as to when they were likely to frame the specific regulations for the bikers app operators like the present appellant and other similarly situated persons, as has been done by other states such as Telangana, Rajasthan and Chandigar, h the bench added....