Delhi High Court Calls for Government and Rapido’s Response in Making App-Based Cabs Disability-Friendly

The Delhi High Court has taken a significant step towards enhancing the accessibility of app-based cab aggregator services for individuals with disabilities. In response to a plea filed by disability rights activist Amar Jain and visually impaired banker Dipto Ghosh Chaudhary, the court has issued notices to both the Central government and ride-hailing service Rapido.

The plea underscores the challenges faced by disabled individuals, asserting that not only Rapido but other cab aggregators also lack adequate systems to meet the accessibility needs of this demographic. The incident involving Dipto Ghosh Chaudhary being denied a ride by a Rapido driver based on his disability is highlighted as a violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016.

According to the RPwD Act, all service providers, both public and private, are legally obligated to ensure that their digital platforms are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. The petitioners argue that the government, specifically the Central government, has failed to implement a mandate to guarantee digital accessibility for persons with disabilities in the realm of cab aggregator services.

The plea contends that this failure directly contradicts Section 41(1)(b) of the RPwD Act, which mandates the government to take suitable measures to provide access to all modes of transport for individuals with disabilities. The case is scheduled for the next hearing on December 20, 2024.

In seeking redress, the petitioners have urged the court to direct the Central government to establish a robust legal mandate and operational guidance for all app-based aggregators. The objective is to ensure that the digital platforms and operational processes of these services become more disability-friendly. Additionally, the plea calls for imposing fines on Rapido for its alleged failure to make its app accessible to persons with disabilities.

The outcome of this case could potentially set a precedent for making transportation services more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities in India.