India: End Of Bumpy Ride For Uber? CCI Smoothens The Road

  • CCI holds that Uber does not hold a dominant position in Kolkata and dismisses claim filed by Meru Cabs
  • CCI holds Kolkata's market to be a peculiar market and hence relevant product market would include services offered by radio taxis as well as yellow taxis.
  • CCI holds that the relevant geographic market, for services that were regulated by an authority would be the territory over which such authority exercised its powers.


The Competition Commission of India ("Commission") in In Re: Meru Travel Solutions (Private) Ltd v Uber India Systems (Private) Ltd.1 ("Uber Order") held that Uber India did not hold a dominant position within the city of Kolkata and therefore no case could be made out for directing an investigation by the Director General for abuse of dominant position.

The Commission rejected allegations that Uber was held a dominant position in the market for as the evidence put on record did not justify the conclusion. Consequently, the Commission dismissed the claim against Uber. This must come as a welcome relief to Uber particularly since in 2015, the Commission thought it fit to direct investigation into Ola regarding its practices in Bengaluru.2 ("Ola Order")


Meru Travel Solutions (Private) Ltd ("Informant") alleged that Uber India Systems (Private) Ltd, Uber BV and Uber Technologies International Inc. (collectively "OPs") held a dominant position in the market and were abusing their dominant position, in contravention of Section 3 and Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 ("Act"), by engaging in practices such as predatory pricing.

The Informant averred that the average market price for radio taxis in Kolkata prior to the OPs' launch in the market was between Rs 20 and 22 per km. In August 2014 the OPs strategically launched their service in Kolkata, much below the prevailing market price, at Rs 15 per km.

Later the OPs reduced the price charged per km to Rs 9. In response the Informant was compelled to reduce the price it charged to Rs 15 km per hour. In addition to following a strategic pricing policy, the OPs enticed taxi drivers and customers by providing driver incentives and customer discounts, respectively. As a result, the Informant alleged, other players in the market, including the Informant, observed a reduction in their market share.

Contention of Parties

Informant's Contentions

  1. The OPs held a dominant position in the relevant product market for radio taxis. Reliiance was placed on a report on the market for radio taxi service in Kolkata prepared by TechSci Research Private Limited ("Report") to contend that the 54% of the active fleet of radio taxis in Kolkata were available with the OPs and out of the total trips made on an average in the city during any given day, the OPs' share was about 61% .
  2. The pricing strategy adopted by the OPs was predatory in nature and that the other operators in the market were able compete only at a loss.
  3. The OPs used to forgo their share of the revenue from providing taxi services, opting instead to give the entire share to the drivers; intending to poach drivers from other radio taxi providers.
  4. The discounts and loyalty rebates offered by the OPs to its customers lead to discrimination in pricing.

Contentions of the OPs

  1. The OPs contended that the relevant product market would include all modes of public transportation as well as private transport. At the very least the ubiquitous local yellow taxis operating in Kolkata would form a part of the relevant product market. Based on this, OPs would not be in a dominant position in Kolkata.
  2. The active presence of yellow taxis in Kolkata posed a strong competitive constraint on radio taxis; this warranted the inclusion of yellow taxis in the relevant product market definition.
  3. The Report relied upon by Informant was unreliable since it was prepared based on a low sample size. Details such as active fleet size, total fleet size and other market share parameters kept changing on a real time basis since drivers could accept bookings from various platforms; therefore the Report could not be relied upon for determining the dominant position of any particular player in the radio taxi services market.
  4. Kolkata had witnessed a drastic increase in the availability of radio taxis since multiple players had started providing radio taxi services, this was accompanied by a reduction in prices. This was in the interests of competition law since it promoted consumer welfare.
  5. It was the entry of Ola in the market which affected the market share of the Informant.


The Commission examined the material on record to conclude that a prima facie case under Section 26 (1) of the Act was not made out. The Commission noted the argument by the OPs that the ubiquitous yellow taxis played an active role in providing taxi services to the public. These taxis being substitutable with radio taxis constituted a significant competitive constraint to the operations of radio taxis such as the Informant and the OPs, since they were relied on extensively by the public for commuting. The Commission therefore was of the view that the relevant product market included services offered by radio taxi operators as well as yellow taxis within the city of Kolkata.

The Commission noted that the due to "region specific demand by the end consumer" and "difference in regulatory architecture" each city or state, as the case may be would constitute a different market in itself.

The Commission rejected the Report and Informant's reliance on the same to contend that OPs were in a dominant position. The Commission noted that the Report did not take into consideration data pertaining to yellow taxis though they formed a part of the relevant product market. The Commission also noted that the Report was prepared based on incomplete information and that the Report was deficient since the OPs were not even interviewed while preparing it.

The Commission noted that Ola, another radio taxi operator had a large market share and there was healthy competition between the OPs and Ola. OPs contended that if yellow taxis were considered the OPs market share was merely 5.8% and hence, OPs could not be considered to be enjoying a dominant position. The Commission, accepting the arguments made by the OPs held that it could not be said that OPs were in a dominant position and consequently, no case of violation under Section 3 and 4 of the Act was made out by the Informant.


In the Uber Order, Kolkata's ubiquitous yellow taxis merited inclusion in the relevant product market since they were relied upon extensively by the general public for transport. These submissions by the OPs had a material bearing on the ultimate decision of the Commission.

Earlier in 2015, upon consideration of a complaint filed by Fast Track (another radio taxi operator) against Ola the Commission directed the Director General to investigate into the allegations of anticompetitive practices such as predatory pricing.3 The informant in that case made averments that Ola, a recipient of foreign investments, was engaging in predatory pricing and was offering unprecedented incentives to drivers. In this case, based on material placed before it the Commission was of the prima facie view that a case was made for the Director General to conduct an investigation.

The Commission while considering an application for interim reliefs filed by Fast Track4 directed Ola to restructure its pricing policy in such a way that the incentives offered to drivers of the radio taxis would not exceed the passenger revenue collected by it. These orders also highlight the importance of presenting material facts and evidences at the initial stage because of which the OPs were able to refute allegations of abuse of dominant position.


1 Case No. 81 of 2015. Order dated December 22, 2015

2 In Re: Fast Track Call Cab Company Pvt Ltd and M/s Ani Technologies, Case No 6 of 2015. Order dated April 24, 2015

3 Supra N.2

4 In Re: Fast Track Call Cab Company Pvt Ltd and M/s Ani Technologies, Case No 6 of 2015, Order dated September 9, 2015

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.