Uber and Ola case: Consumer is king, says HC
The Delhi high court has reminded taxi operators that ‘consumer is king’ when they protested against discounts being offered by app-based cab providers. Justice Manmohan said if a company gave discounts, it was the customers who benefited. So, if operators such as Ola and Uber wished to increase their customer base by giving them attractive discounts, the courts could not step in. His remark came while hearing an application by a taxi association which alleged that app-based cab service providers were flouting the court’s August 11directions on surge pricing and also failed to follow the rates prescribed by the Delhi government.
Justice Manmohan said if the government did not want to fix any minimum fares, it was their decision and he could not ask them to do so. The counsel appearing for the government told HC that after the August 11 directions, they had not received any complaint regarding surge pricing by app-based cab services providers. “Suppose somebody wants to give discounts, can you (taxi association) say that consumers should not be given the benefit? Ultimately, consumer is the king.
“Today, 4G prices have been cut by 40 per cent by a telecom company. Shouldn't consumers be given benefits? The state government’s notification does not say discounts cannot be given to the consumers. This court cannot say that less charges should not be levied by them. After all, the consumers should be benefited. The court cannot exercise this power,” Manmohan said.
The HC had earlier this month clamped down on surge pricing by app-based cab service providers and set 22 August as the deadline after which such entities and other taxi operators could not charge passengers more than the rates fixed by the government. The deadline was fixed after Uber had said it needed 10 days to make changes to its software. Ola had told the court it had already stopped charging passengers more than the notified rates.