Petition accepted by IHC against Uber, Careem

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday accepted for regular hearing a petition filed against two ridesharing services by taxi driver.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued notices to the authorities concerned on the petition filed by a taxi driver seeking legal action against Uber and Careem for violation of the public transport laws.

Mohammad Abdul Shakoor Malik in his petition said why drivers associated with the two services had been exempted from getting registered with the transport authority, obtaining permit, licences and colouring their vehicles as per the requirement of the government.

“The gross violation of the law by Uber and Careem has created a non-level playing field in the taxi business.”

The petitioner through his counsel Umer Gillani cited the secretary Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA), SSP (traffic) Malik Matloob, Chief Commissioner Zulfiqar Haider, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman, Careem Cab Network and the general manager of Uber Technologies as respondents.

The petitioner said Uber and Careem had set up mobile phone applications that can be downloaded to smartphones and work in conjunction with their respective websites.

Through the websites and applications, as well as through their offices and media communication, the companies invite car owners to become their agents and provide rides to passengers.

The two cab service providers are now operating in many cities, including Islamabad. In Islamabad alone, the number of drivers providing rides to passengers has increased manifold.

Drivers of the two companies do not fulfil any of legal requirements laid out in the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 or the National Highways Safety Ordinance 2000.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the ITA to ensure that new entrants into the market for contract carriage permits such as the two aforementioned services are subjected to the same legal and regulatory requirements enforced against existing licensees, and to proceed strictly against those who refuse to comply.

The petitioner also prayed that the ITA, SSP and chief commissioner may be directed to ensure that the petitioner’s complaints annexed with the petition, which disclose allegations of cognisable and non-cognisable offences, are investigated and proceeded against in accordance with the law.