Centre wants states to halt app-based cab services

Taxi trouble: Delhi rape repercussions felt across nation

Centre wants states to halt app-based cab services

The Union government on Tuesday “advised” states to stop app-based taxi services amid an outrage over the rape of a young woman in Delhi allegedly by an “Uber” cab driver.

As anguished parliamentarians vented their ire against the rape, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the incident as a “national shame”.

With the Delhi Police exploring the issue of possible legal liability of Uber in the crime and the Delhi government banning the company in the capital, Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that the Union Home Ministry has advised the state governments and Union territories to ensure that the operations of the web-based taxi services “are stopped”.

However, he added that the government was not in favour of banning taxi services but wanted to regulate them.

“I want to say that our intentions should not be questioned in this regard. The government strongly condemns this dastardly act. It will be ensured that all necessary steps are taken to bring the offender to justice,” Singh said, two days after the driver was arrested on charges of raping the woman who was returning home from a party.

Singh said the states have also been advised not to allow operations of taxi services until their proper verification and registration is completed. A proper transparency procedure would also be maintained in the process.

The Home Minister’s statement came hours after Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari appeared to ridicule the ban on Uber in Delhi. “New developments are taking place in the transport system through electronics. Banning the railways for train accidents, bus for bus accidents and taxis is not correct,” Gadkari told reporters at the Parliament House complex.

However, he said the state governments have the right to take a decision in such matters.

In the Rajya Sabha, Congress’ Anand Sharma questioned how Gadkari said shutting the services is not a solution. “The government must clarify. Your cabinet colleague has criticised the ban on Uber,” Sharma told Singh.

MPs cutting across party lines sought to seek explanation from Singh as to how such incidents continue to occur despite “tall claims” of the government and a spate of initiatives, taken after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape, to protect women.

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