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Supreme Court Orders Status Quo To Bombay High Court In MVA Guidelines Case Against Uber India

Supreme Court Orders Status Quo To Bombay High Court In MVA Guidelines Case Against Uber India

Earlier this year, the Bombay High Court had ordered cab aggregators to apply for valid licenses before March 16 in order to continue their operations in Maharashtra

In the recent hearing, a bench of Justices of L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai issued a notice to the central government, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and other parties

Uber has yet not applied for a license under the Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines 2020

In the special leave petition (SLP) filed by Uber India questioning Motor Vehicle Aggregators (MVA) Guidelines 2020, the Supreme Court has offered interim relief to the cab aggregator. On the other hand, the Bombay High Court has been ordered status quo by the Apex Court for directing cab aggregators to comply with MVA guidelines. 

Under the SLP, a bench of Justices of L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai issued a notice to the central government, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and other parties.

Dr Abhishek Manu Singvhi, a senior counsel of Uber India, said that Uber India has serious objections to the validity of MVA guidelines. The cab aggregator has yet not applied for a license under the Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines 2020. Even though, the Bombay High Court has directed in a PIL to implement the guidelines.

Singvhi said, “many of the conditions in the guidelines are not workable and the issue has been raised before the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.”

Singvhi further informed that the state government (Maharashtra government) has not finalised its guidelines for cab aggregators. Also, the authorities that are supposed to issue licenses to cab aggregators are yet to be notified. 

Earlier this year, the Bombay High Court had ordered cab aggregators to apply for valid licenses before March 16 in order to continue their operations in Maharashtra. It did that after Savino Crastino filed a PIL stating the lack of a redressal mechanism for customers using the Uber app. 

During the PIL hearing, the Bombay High Court had ordered the transport department of the Maharashtara government to issue guidelines in the official gazette forthwith and not later than 9th March 2022. It also empowered every regional transport authority in Maharashtra to act as the licensing authority to grant licenses to the cab aggregators. 

After getting this information, in the recent hearing, Justice Rao said, “Notice and status quo. Let them come, that’s why we said status quo. You serve on the other side, we will list it after 2-3 weeks, serve dasti also.”

The latest development comes at a time when Uber India has resumed the addition of Mumbai’s iconic kaali-peeli (black and yellow) taxis on its platform in April this year. Currently, about 5K traditional (black and yellow) taxis are registered on Uber but only one-fifth of them are active on its platform. 

With the ongoing legal spat with the Bombay High court and not complying with the MVA guidelines, Uber may likely strive to bring Mumbai’s kaali-peeli taxis onboard on its app.