Delhi Govt Orders ISPs To Block Ola, Uber & Other Taxi Apps; Threatens To Invoke Section 12 of IT Act
Delhi Govt. has ordered all telecom companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Delhi to restrict and block the access of all taxi aggregator apps such as Uber, Ola and others. In an order released in the morning, it was mentioned that in case telecom companies and ISPs failed to block the access of these apps, the Govt. may initiate action against them by invoking Section 12 of the IT Act.
As per a report published by Financial Express, it was said that the telecom companies have executed the orders and the access of these apps is now restricted.
Executive of an ISP said, “We will only have to block the Delhi link of the websites of the taxi companies. As far the apps are concerned, we will provide restricted access, where users won’t be able to access the Delhi site. This can be done from the server,”
Interestingly, officials of the taxi apps are not aware of the situation. An Uber rep said, “This has been going on. We know that the ministry of IT had been asked to block the site, but we are not aware of this Delhi ban.”
However, when we tried accessing the websites and mobile apps of some of the taxi aggregators, we were able to do so without any hassles.
Reports are emerging that there was some mis-communication regarding the orders by Delhi Govt., and ISPs are working on it to resolve the issues. As per some officials, Delhi Govt. only ‘asked’ the telecom companies whether they can block access of these apps in Delhi region.
What Is Section 12 of IT Act
As per the Section 12 of IT Act, Govt. can take action against telecom companies for not implementing the required orders, and failing to communicate the response via electronic medium.
Telecom companies certainly do not wish to get into more trouble this time, and the gag orders may be implemented today itself.
Banning of Taxi Aggregator Apps in Delhi
After the huge uproar against the rape of a woman inside Uber app in Delhi last year, Delhi Govt. had immediately asked for banning these apps in the month of March. The main contention and logic of Delhi Govt. regarding the banning is that, these taxi aggregators doesn’t have radio license to operate.
ISPs had blocked TaxiForSure website as well, but their app was accessible on mobile. ISPs asked for some to implement the ban, as there existed some technical glitches in order to ban these apps, especially Uber and Ola apps, as they have included several layers of encryption in their functionality.
Later, Uber started paying service taxes, as mandated in the last Union Budget, which made them part of the Indian business circuit, and prevented any further legal action. They even introduced GPS based real time SOS system for better security and safety of passengers. To mold their business model as per Indian standards, they even introduced cash payment option, a global first for them.
But with this renewed propaganda of banning these apps, instead of rectifying the root cause of the problem may derail their operations & expansion plans.
A uniform, nation-wide regulation regarding the usage of taxi aggregator apps is the most important exercise which Indian Govt. should implement.
We will keep you updated as more information comes in.