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Taxi Wars: Supreme Court Orders Status Quo On CCI Probe, Uber Breathes Relief

Taxi Wars: Supreme Court Orders Status Quo On CCI Probe, Uber Breathes Relief

The Supreme Court has put on hold Competition Commission of India (CCI) from initiating a probe against Uber over taxi hailing platform Meru’s  complaint of predatory pricing.

In July 2016, the Delhi-based radio taxi aggregator, Meru had accused Uber, an app-based taxi aggregation service, in its blog post to be a ‘law breaker’ and ‘a company which monetises on price-play.’

It accused Uber for its predatory pricing which was driving competitors and small taxi operators out of business. Not only this, Uber was also accused for not paying service tax, putting diesel cabs on road (only CNG cabs are allowed since April 2001), not allotting taxi badges to drivers in Mumbai, (which is mandatory as per local rules) and surge pricing during the peak hours.

And now Supreme Court has asked to maintain a status quo till the next hearing.

In December 2016, Competition Appellate Tribunal had ordered the probe against the same. A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and DY Chandrachud heard Uber’s appeal against the Compat (Competition Appellate Tribunal) order of December 7, that found reason to probe Uber.

After the hearing, the court issued notices to Meru and the CCI to sought out the matter within four weeks. In February 2016, CCI had rejected Meru’s plea for a probe citing lack of relevant data, but the tribunal ordered the antitrust body’s director-general to investigate the matter further.The case will be heard next on February 27, 2017.

In June 2016, Ola had also accused Uber of being a foreign firm with no regard for Indian laws  and doing business in India only for profit. Post the debate between Ola and Uber over the court ruling, Ola’s chief operating officer, Pranay Jivrajka had also came out with a blog where he highlighted similar things.

In August 2016, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to Ola and Uber to stop surge pricing and follow government prescribed fares. In September 2016, Government of India had planned to establish a maximum limit on fares to monitor surge pricing by online cab aggregators like Uber and Ola. This move by the government was aimed to protect consumer interest, according to sources close to the development.

(This development was reported by ET)