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Rejection of licencing documents widens rift between Uber and Karnataka govt.

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The conflict between Uber and Karnataka govt. deepens as the cab-hailing service has allegedly accused the transport department officials of not accepting their documents for a license to operate in the state, according to the new cab-aggregator laws laid down by the govenrment.

If you’re unaware of the fact, the Karnataka government has laid down a set of rules called On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rule for the cab-aggregators and ride-hailing services on 2nd April 2016. According to this rule, the cab aggreagtors now need to get a licence and have a tamper-proof GPS device installed in all their cabs.

This is Uber’s second time challenging the Karnataka government. The ride-hailing service had earlier filed a objection on the government’s insistence to ban surge pricing and operate under a fixed fares. The two parties are said to meet in court on 20th June to discuss further on the matter.

Ola has already applied for the licence and might actually be the first one to operate in the state with the approval of the transportation department. While Uber, following the non-acceptance of documents, has mailed all of them through Speed Post so that it can get an acknowledgement of the dispatch and prove that it did in-fact apply for the licence.

In talks with ET, the executives of Uber told that they went to the transportion department on June 7 i.e Tuesday to submit a complete set of documents to apply for a licence to operate according to the new set of rules, but the department officials refused to accept the documents or even acknowledge the document submission.

The general manager of Uber India, Bhavik Rathod has thus written a letter to Transport Commissioner, Rame Gowda, complaining about the non-acceptance of the documents.

In the letter, Rathod puts forward facts to support his claim and says that,

We have submitted all the necessary documents as required by the Transport Department to ensure compliance under the Rules with respect to 100 vehicles in order to procure the requisite licence. Further, an inspection of more than 100 vehicles and our operations was also concluded by the concerned inspectors from the Bengaluru (Central) regional transport office at our premises on May 24 and 31, 2016.

Mr. Gowda told ET that he is still to read the letter, but believes that the new rules have been setup to encourage app-based aggregator services. He says that the transport department has notified the aggregators to submit documents and apply for the licence but the documents should be complete and in accordance to the rules.

Additional Transport Commissioner, HG Kumar also chimes in and says that Uber’s documents were declined because they were incomplete and had only one signature, while the transport agency needs two signatures on the documents to be binding. While an Uber spokesperson has clarified the fact that the documents will have only one signature because all its contracts with drivers are e-contracts, which are acceptable and admissible in court.

Uber even though has filed an objection against the new set of aggregator rules laid down by the government, but it was still trying to apply for a licence and operate legally until the court reached a final verdict.


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