The Bisrakh Police Station in Noida has filed an FIR against Uber under the Section 336 (Act endangering the life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code, reports the Indian Express. This has been filed for negligence, the lack of a real-time monitoring system and failing to do proper police verification for its drivers.

The Noida police FIR was filed yesterday, after a replacement driver allegedly raped an Uber user who booked the cab on February 5, while the user’s FIR was registered on February 9. The Noida police have arrested both the accused and the cab owner within 10 days of the incident (date unspecified). The replacement driver was not the same driver whose profile was displayed on the app.

The Bisrakh Police Station SHO refused to provide information to MediaNama over the phone, while the Noida Police PRO said that he did not have the pertinent information related to this case. Uber has issued a statement to MediaNama (see below).

Uber said that it did not have any comment on MediaNama’s questions about
– the process of police verification for drivers and
– what happens when a situation like this arises where there is a replacement driver (and Uber is unaware of this development) and what action Uber takes when it gets to know.

Uber awaiting FIR copy, will initiate criminal and civil legal action

(Find Uber’s full statement to MediaNama at the bottom.)

Uber told the Indian Express and PTI that it had not received a copy of the FIR. Its statement to them read, “… Subject to our review of the FIR, we would like to deny any allegation raised in the press release… Additionally… we will pursue all legal recourse (including initiating appropriate criminal and civil action) against both the driver partner and the driver who was driving.”

Uber added that this behaviour could lead to the driver permanently losing access to the app “if we uncover a violation of Uber’s safety standards or criteria required by local regulators.’’

The 2014 Delhi case

In 2014, a year after Uber’s India launch, an Uber driver raped a woman in Delhi. This led to a uniform ban (in effect on 8 December 2014 and lasted for 6 months at least) on cab operators in Karnataka and Delhi after the Home Ministry issued an advisory to this effect. In January 2015, a Delhi court charged the driver Shiv Kumar Yadav with rape, kidnapping and criminal intimidation and forgery for obtaining a fake character certificate which got him the driver permit. At the time, Uber had promised to invest in consumer safety across all the 260 cities it then operated in. It had also rolled out additional safety measures and precautions in India.

In November 2015, Yadav was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of rape, causing bodily harm and endangering the life of a woman under the IPC. (Read more on this case here.)

Read more:
– Centre wants Ola, Uber to let women choose co-passengers
– Kolkata rape & murder: Ola says driver was not on the platform at the time

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Uber’s full statement:

“We are still awaiting a copy of the FIR or any formal communication from the police or any concerned authority. Subject to our review of the FIR, we would like to deny any allegation raised in the press release. Safety is paramount for all of us at Uber and we remain committed to trying to build the best possible safety standards for our riders. We have and will continue to extend our full support to investigating and other authorities.

Additionally, in line with our global stand on safety, we will pursue all legal recourse (including initiating appropriate criminal and civil action) against both the driver partner and the driver who was driving. We want to be very clear that such behavior is abhorrent and will not be tolerated in the Uber community. These actions also reinforce our existing policies where a driver partner can permanently lose access to the App if we uncover a violation of Uber’s safety standards or criteria required by local regulators.’’ – Uber Spokesperson