On 16.10.2020, the Supreme Court admitted a case in which the business model and the pricing algorithm followed by famous cab aggregators Ola and Uber was questioned.
A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Hon’ble Justice R.F Nariman, Hon’ble Justice Navin Sinha and Hon’ble Justice K.M Joseph admitted the case.
The Court has issued notices to the respondents. Further the petitioner, Mr Samir Agarwal, has been allowed to conduct the hearing in person.
Crux of the case:-
In this plea Petitioner challenges the algorithmic pricing of Ola and Uber.
Petitioner says that these policies were violating antitrust laws of the Country.
An appeal was filed before the Supreme Court after the tribunal rejected the case.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court was convinced by the arguments of the petitioner and admitted the case as there was a question of law that needed to be answered.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Amit Sibal who appeared on behalf of Uber strongly opposed the contentions of the petitioner.
They urged the court not to admit the appeal.
Allegations against Ola and Uber
Plea says that Ola and Uber angle themselves as a company that facilitates taxi services and not as a taxi company.
As per the official stand of these aggregators, drivers who use their platforms are independent business enterprises, and they are not employees of the company.
In simple terms, these taxi drivers are customers of the Uber/Ola app and pay them a fee(usually 20% to 30% of the fare amount) to get more leads.
The main contention of the petitioner is that if as per the company, the drivers are not their employees then how can these companies decide the pricing of all the rides and even take a commission out of it.
In legal parlance, this kind of structure is a cartelisation of drivers, which is a serious white-collar crime.
Imagine if Swiggy started fixing the price for dal makhani, or butter chicken instead of the restaurant owner and also gets a hefty commission out of it.
The Case is fix for 08.12.2020 for final disposal.
Title: Samir Agarwal vs Competition Commission of India & Ors
Case No.: Civil Appeal No. 3100/2020
Date of Order: 16.10.2020
Coram:Hon’ble Justice R.F Nariman, Hon’ble Justice Navin Sinha and Hon’ble Justice K.M Joseph
Party in person: Samir Agarwal
Counsel for the respondents: Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Amit Sibal Sr. Advs