National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi

Mrs Vineeta Rai, Presiding Member and Vinay Kumar, Member

V Rajendran Nair - Appellant

Versus

The Managing Director, Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. Ltd & OrsRespondents

First Appeal No. 52 of 2009                                                               Decided on 5.9.2013

(Against the order dated 31.07.2008 in Complaint Case No. 47/2002 of the State Commission, Kerala)

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections 17,19 and 21 – Automobile - Manufacturing Defect – Complaint Dismissed by State Commission – Memorandum of appeal has challenged finding of State Commission that no evidence was produced to show that Complainant ever approached OPs with complaints of Manufacturing Defects except in legal notice – Complaint before State Commission with prayer for refund of purchase price together with compensation of Rs. 2 lakh, has failed to substantiate case of Complainant – Complainant has failed to establish case set up by him – Appeal dismissed.                                                                                                                  (Paras 5 to 7)

Important Point

Complaint regarding Manufacturing Defects should not be raised straightaway before Consumer Forum.

Order

1.Vinay Kumar, Member – In OP No. 47 of 2002, the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has dismissed the coacmplaint filed by the present Appellant. It has held that the Complainant has failed to establish the case set up by him. Aggrieved by this order of the State Commission, Complainant Shri V Rajendran Nair has filed the present appeal before this Commission.

2.The case of the Complainant before the State Commission related to alleged manufacturing defects in a Tata Lorry purchased by him on 31.03.1999. According to him, the vehicle suffered from manufacturing defects in several areas including the braking system, electric fittings and the pulling power. Having failed to obtain satisfactory rectification of the alleged defects, the Complainant first issued a legal notice in February, 2002 and then followed it up with a consumer complaint in June, 2002. It made the following prayer:-

A.The Opposite Parties be directed to refund the purchase price of Rs. 5,15,711 with interest @ 12% from the date of purchase (31.3.1999) till realization.

B.The Opposite Parties be directed to give Rs.2,00,000 with 12% interest from the date of complaint as compensation for the cost of  spare parts and for mental agony sustained.

C.The Complainant be allowed such other reliefs, which are deemed proper and fit during the course of trial such as cost.

3.Per contra, the contention of OPs 1 and 2 (the manufacturer of the vehicle) was that the complaint had been filed after over three years of use of the vehicle and was, therefore, barred by limitation. The vehicle did not suffer from any manufacturing defects and problems like breaking of bearings were result of reckless driving or overloading. It was also contended that the vehicle had a warranty of 18 months or 1.5 lakh kms, whichever was earlier. 

4.The State Commission appointed Shri Vijaykumaran Nair, Ex-Chief Engineer, Government of Kerala as the expert, and considered his detailed report together with objections of OPs to the finding therein and other evidence. The conclusion reached by the State Commission can be briefly listed as:

a)By the time the consumer complaint was filed, the vehicle had been used for over three years. According to the Complainant, it was used for the purposes of the business of the Hollow Bricks Manufacturing Unit of the Complainant.

b)Admittedly, defects have been rectified by the OPs, till the end of the warranty period.

c)Most of the bills produced on behalf of the Complainant are in respect of purchase of lubricants. One bill was also for purchase of jack lever.

d)The Complainant did not produce the log book of the vehicle. However, at the time of inspection by the Commissioner on 3.5.2004, the odometer reading was 45,838.

e)The claim of the Complainant that the vehicle was mostly in garage was not substantiated by examining the concerned mechanic or workshop owner.

5.Shyam Padman, Advocate, counsel for the Appellant/Complainant argued before us that the crown and pinion of the vehicle had been replaced twice first in October 1999 and later in September 2000. This, according to the learned counsel, would by itself establish that the vehicle sold to the Complainant had suffered from manufacturing defects, which were not open to repair and rectification. We do not agree. As for the claim that the vehicle was of a failed model, which had to be later discontinued by the manufacturer, it needs to be noted that before the State Commission, no supporting evidence was led to prove this contention.

6.The memorandum of appeal has challenged the finding of the State Commission that no evidence was produced to show that the Complainant ever approached the OPs with complaints of manufacturing defects, except in the legal notice of 12.2.2002. However, neither the appeal memorandum nor the arguments of the counsel go beyond mentioning the replacement of the crown and pinion assembly. Moreover, most bills produced before the State Commission related to the purchase of lubricants only. Thus, evidently, the complaint before the State Commission with prayer for refund of the purchase price, together with compensation of Rs. 2 lakh, has failed to substantiate the case of the Complainant. We find ourselves in agreement with the conclusion reached by the State Commission that the Complainant has failed to establish the case set up by him.

7.In the light of the examination of the above, we hold that the decision of the State Commission is based on correct appreciation of evidence on record and does not call for any interference by this Commission. The appeal is accordingly dismissed for want of merit. No order as to costs.

 

 

 

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