The Bombay High Court, in an interim order, has restrained associations of taxi drivers and owners here from stopping drivers attached to the App-based cab service provider Uber from doing their work. Justice S J Kathawalla late last month passed an interim injunction in response to Uber’s suit. “I am prima-facie of the opinion that, injunction orders, restraining defendants are required to be passed,” he said. The court also directed the joint commissioner of police (traffic) to ensure that drivers attached to Uber are not stopped or blocked from plying on the roads and their vehicles are not damaged. Uber India has approached the HC seeking Rs 12 crore in damages from taxi owners and drivers associations for harming its reputation and livelihood of its drivers by protesting against the company.
In its suit, Uber India Systems Pvt Ltd also sought an injunction restraining the defendants from stopping Uber drivers from working, alleging that they were being “verbally abused, physically assaulted and threatened”. The suit names Sangharsh Tourist Chalak Malak Sangh, an association of taxi owners and drivers, Action Committee of Maharashtra against Ola and Uber, Mumbai Vikas Foundation, All Drivers Welfare Association and Maharashtra Tourist Permit Union as defendants.
“The defendants are deliberately, unlawfully and wrongfully resorting to violence and intimidation under the garb of strikes and protests in Mumbai and thereby restraining drivers associated with the plaintiff’s mobile App from operating and pursuing livelihood,” the suit said. It further alleged that the defendants have been engaged in “actively inciting” drivers of Uber to go on strike and protest against the company. “The defendants have been hampering the legitimate business of plaintiffs (Uber) by interfering in their operations quite extensively across the city of Mumbai. They have been indulging in threats to the driver partners of Uber, in the event they wilfully continue to drive using the Uber App,” the suit alleged.
The suit referred to a protest held by the taxi owners and drivers associations at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai in March this year when several Uber cars were allegedly damaged and their customers and drivers were threatened. The company has also claimed that a total of 830 incidents have been reported wherein either the driver or the passengers have been harassed. “The plaintiffs further seek a direction to the defendants to pay a sum of Rs 12.41 crore as damages to business, reputation and goodwill of Uber,” the suit said.