India’s top court backs Delhi ban on bike taxis in setback for Uber

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New Delhi (Reuters) – India’s top court on Monday backed a New Delhi city government ban on bike taxis in a setback for U.S. ride-hailing company Uber (UBER.N) which had legally challenged authorities to continue offering the services.

The Delhi city authorities on Feb. 19 took out newspaper ads asking digital companies to “immediately stop” allowing personal bike taxis that offer commercial, ride-hailing services on their apps as they violated city rules. It also later warned Uber and other companies to not do so, Reuters has reported.

Delhi is a key market for ride-hailing firms. Uber says in 2022, more than 1.9 million trips took place to and from metro rail stations in Delhi on Uber Moto, its bike taxi service.’

Uber had last month challenged the city authorites in the Delhi High Court, which allowed it to continue operations. But the city approached the Supreme Court against Uber, arguging laws were being flouted.

On Monday, after hearing the city government’s arguments of violation of rules, the Supreme Court revoked the lower court’s order, effectively resinstating the ban.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment. During the court hearing, it argued the livelihood of its bike riders was at stake.

The Feb. 19 newspaper ad said companies can face a penalty of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,209) for non-compliance. For drivers of bike taxis, the penalties could be as high as 10,000 rupees ($121) and a jail term of up to one year.

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