India woman sues Uber over driver rape allegation

  • 30 January 2015
  • From the section India
The Uber smartphone app, used to book taxis using its service, is pictured over a parking lot as auto-rickshaws (background) ply a road in the Indian capital New Delhi on December 7, 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption India is one of dozens of countries where Uber is popular

An Indian woman who says she was raped by a driver of web-based taxi firm Uber in Delhi has filed a lawsuit against the service in a US court.

The 26-year-old woman accuses the firm of failing to ensure passengers' safety and is seeking unspecified damages.

Uber said in a statement that it was co-operating with authorities to ensure the "perpetrator is brought to justice".

Driver Shiv Kumar Yadav is currently on trial on rape and kidnapping charges.

The woman alleges he drove her to a secluded area and raped her. He denies the charges.

The woman's lawyer filed the lawsuit in San Francisco, where the firm is based, and asked the court to protect her identity.

The lawsuit described Uber's service a "modern-day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking".

In a statement, Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian said the company's "deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime''.

"We are co-operating fully with the authorities to ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice."

Delhi banned Uber and several other web-based taxi firms for failing to carry out adequate driver checks in early December.

Last week Uber restarted services in Delhi, saying it had applied for a radio taxi licence and would improve safety by introducing features such as an "in-app emergency button".

The company has apologised for the incident and acknowledged that it "must do better".

But it has defended the way it checks drivers, and said it expected to have completed about two million background checks worldwide by the end of 2014.

Uber's troubles

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Parisian taxi drivers blocked roads in their dispute with Uber
  • In late 2014, taxi drivers allege Uber has an unfair advantage and stage road-block protests and strikes in cities across the world
  • Regulatory problems and legal challenges to its business model lead to national bans in Thailand and Spain, and local bans in India, Germany and the US
  • Two Uber drivers charged with sex assault in US city of Chicago in separate incidents

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