Providing relief to Uber drivers and users in Kochi, the Kerala High Court has ordered city police commissioner Vijay Sakhare to take action against the Self-Employed Drivers Union – the trade union which damaged property and obstructed passengers and drivers from using the aggregator service.
Uber drivers in the city have been complaining for a long time about attacks on them by members of the Self-Employed Drivers Union (SEDU). The union is affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress.
Multiple Uber drivers said that the members of SEDU, who wanted to ban Uber, damaged the cars of drivers and even attacked those who didn't take part in the protest.
The court, in its order dated October 4, directed the city police to take "appropriate measures to prevent members and associates of SEDU from causing obstruction to the commuters and service providers of Uber application, or causing any injury or damage to their assets and vehicles."
The order by Justice Suresh Kumar also stated that the police should give ‘meaningful aid’ in a way the users will not have any interruption of service.
“What is expected from the police in a case of this nature, is to take effective and sincere efforts to see that no person using the app is obstructed or injured or the property of such a person is damaged. It is trite that acts of violence under the guise of protests, affecting the rights of citizens to move freely or to carry on their avocation and affecting their right to life are liable to be treated not only as mere criminal acts against the individuals, but also as serious offences against the society,” the order stated.
SEDU's protest to demand a ban on Uber in Kochi began on September 5. According to Uber drivers, SEDU was forcing them not to use Uber and shift to other online cab platforms. In an earlier report regarding the allegation, SEDU officials had told TNM that they will obstruct even the passengers who use Uber. The passengers and drivers can now breathe a sigh of relief with the High Court’s order.
The court has also directed the police officials to invoke provisions of Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Ordinance 2019 norms against those who damage property in the guise of protest against Uber and those who call for a protest.