Karnataka High Court notice to State govt. on Uber’s appeal on cap imposed on service charge for app-based autorickshaws

Updated - July 11, 2024 08:03 pm IST

Published - July 10, 2024 09:39 pm IST - Bengaluru

A division bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Anjari and Justice K.V. Aravind passed the order on an appeal filed by Uber India Services Pvt. Ltd.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Anjari and Justice K.V. Aravind passed the order on an appeal filed by Uber India Services Pvt. Ltd. | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

A division bench of the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday ordered issue of notice to the State government on an appeal challenging single judge’s order upholding the cap imposed by the Government on service charge/commission to be collected by mobile app-based transport aggregators to offer autorickshaw services through their platforms.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Anjari and Justice K.V. Aravind passed the order on an appeal filed by Uber India Services Pvt. Ltd. The company has questioned the May 27 judgement of a single judge, who had dismissed its petition, along with the petitions filed by two other transport aggregators.

The single judge had upheld the Government’s November, 2022, notification capping the service charge/commission at 5%, plus applicable GST, on the base fare fixed by the government for autorickshaws.

Service of an aggregator

Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, appearing for Uber, contended that the single judge, among others aspects, has also erroneously held that company is providing transport service even though is providing service of an aggregator, such a finding by the single could open penal action against the company no one could operate transport service without obtaining permit under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Pointing out that the single judge had order for sending the copy of the judgement to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to examine the allegation of the Association of permit holders/drivers that aggregators are abusing their dominant position in the market, Mr. Poovayya sought intervention of the Bench before the CCI initiates any proceeding.

Govt’s appeal

Meanwhile, the Advocate-General Shashi Kiran Shetty said that the Government is not proposing any action against the aggregators at present as the Government is also filing an appeal against the single judge’s decision of holding that aggregators are not required to seek separate licence for offering different categories of vehicles through their platforms. The government’s contention is that the aggregators are required to take separate licences for cars, autorickshaws, two wheelers, etc., said the A-G while request the bench to hear both the appeals together.

The bench adjourned further hearing till July 26.

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