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1. This First Appeal has been filed under Section 19 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act 1986’, in challenge to the Order dated 20.02.2020 in C.C. No. 04 of 2011 passed by The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Bihar, hereinafter referred to as the ‘State Commission’.
The Appellants No 1 and No. 2, Action Construction Equipment Ltd., were the Opposite Parties No. 1 and No. 2 before the State Commission, and are hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Manufacturer’.
The Respondent No. 1, Mr. Arun Singh, was the Complainant before the State Commission, and is hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Complainant ’.
The Respondent No. 2, Sri Sai Construction, was the Opposite Party No. 3 before the State Commission, and is hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Authorized Dealer’.
The Respondent No. 3, Sri Ram Transport Finance Company Ltd., was the Opposite Party No. 4 before the State Commission, and is hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Finance Co.’.
3. Heard arguments from Mr. Puneet Bajaj, learned Counsel for the Manufacturer.
4. This Appeal has been filed with self-admitted delay of 'around 90 days'. In the interest of justice, to provide fair opportunity to the Manufacturer, to settle the matter on merit, the delay in filing the Appeal is condoned.
5. On 15.02.201 the following Order was made by this Commission:
Dated: 15th February 2021
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The execution shall remain stayed if the direction contained in para 12 ('The machine be handed over to complainant by the ops.') of the State Commission’s impugned Order dated 20.02.2020 is complied with to the satisfaction of the executing forum and the entire decretal amount as contained in para 13 of the said Order dated 20.02.2020 of the State Commission is deposited by the appellants with the State Commission.
Learned counsel submits, on instructions, that, out of the entire decretal amount that has to be deposited with the State Commission, the appellants will unconditionally pay Rs. 5,00,000/- to the complainant and deposit the balance decretal amount with the State Commission. The submission is recorded. The appellant shall be bound by the submission made by its learned counsel.
6. The material on record shows that the Complainant, an unemployed youth, purchased a Backhoe Loader AX-130, exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment. He paid Rs. 7.50 lakh from his own resources and Rs. 8.50 lakh by availing loan from the Finance Co. i.e. total Rs. 16.00 lakh to the Authorized Dealer of the Manufacturer.
7. The State Commission, vide its impugned Order of 20.02.2020, has made a detailed appraisal of the evidence.
8. The proved facts manifestly evince that the subject machine was not working properly right from the beginning of its installation i.e. 20.02.2010, thereafter it stopped working completely and shut down on 06.03.2020. Despite repeated visits of the service engineer of the Manufacturer and repair works and even after replacement of parts with new parts twice, the defects in the machine continued. It was again taken by the Manufacturer for repair work during the pendency of the Complaint before the State Commission. It was stated before the State Commission that the repair work was completed finally and the machine was in a position to be handed over to the Complainant on 17.05.2018. An inspection report dated 07.06.2018 was filed by the Manufacturer stating therein that all defects in the subject machine had (now) been removed and it was (now) in order and defect-free (para 9 of the State Commission’s Order).
9. The State Commission has observed that the facts and circumstances of the case indicate the recurring of defects in the machine right from the beginning of its installation and inspite of repair works and replacement of parts (which has not been denied by the Manufacturer and its Authorized Dealer). The machine was defective and it could not be rectified totally till it was finally repaired under a settlement during the pendency of the case before the State Commission (para 10 of the State Commission’s Order).
10. Ingredients of ‘deficiency’ within the meaning of Section 2(1)(g) of the Act 1986 are manifestly clear.
11. In its Award, the State Commission ordered the Manufacturer to hand over the repaired machine to the Complainant and pay him compensation for the loss and injury by way of interest at the rate of 10% per annum on the purchase price of the machine i.e. Rs. 16.00 lakh from the date of its installation i.e. 20.02.2010 till the date on which it was finally repaired i.e. 17.05.2018, within two months, failing which the rate of interest shall stand enhanced to 12% per annum, as also to pay him cost of litigation of Rs.10 thousand in the same period of two months (para 13 of the State Commission’s Order).
12. In the proved facts of the case, and, inter alia, admittedly having finally repaired the machine during settlement before the State Commission and having filed an inspection report dated 07.06.2018 during the pendency of the case mentioning therein that all defects in the machine had been removed and the machine was in order and defect-free, it does not lie in the mouth of the Manufacturer to now agitate the facts further. And, as already said, ingredients of ‘deficiency’ are clearly manifest.
13. Regarding the Award made by the State Commission, it is inter alia material that the Complainant had availed finance from the Finance Co. for part payment of the total consideration.
In the totality of the facts of the case, it is evident that the State Commission has awarded compensation that is reasonable and equitable, and meets the ends of justice.
14. The State Commission has passed a well-appraised reasoned order, its appraisal cannot be faulted.
15. No misappreciation of the evidence, or a jurisdiction error, or a legal principle ignored, is visible.
16. The Act 1986 is for better protection of the interests of consumers, in recognizedly a fight amongst unequals. Its Statement of Object and Reasons says of speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes.
The cause of action arose in 2010, the Complaint was filed before the State Commission in 2011, the State Commission made its Order in 2020, we are now in 2021. The trouble and prejudice that the complainant has been put to is not viewed favourably.
17. The Appeal is misconceived and bereft of worth, is frivolous and vexatious. It is dismissed with cost of Rs. 10 thousand to be paid to the Complainant by the Manufacturer by way of ‘payee’s a/c only’ demand draft within four weeks of the pronouncement of this Order.
The State Commission is requested that the amount, if any, deposited by the Manufacturer in compliance of this Commissi
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on’s Order dated 15.02.2021, along with interest, if any, accrued thereon, be released to the Complainant within four weeks of the pronouncement of this Order by way of ‘payee’s a/c only’ demand draft as per the due procedure and after the due verification. The Manufacturer through its chief executive is directed that the balance decretal amount, if any, be made good within four weeks of the pronouncement of this Order, failing which the State Commission shall undertake execution as per the law. 18. The Registry is requested to send a copy each of this Order to all the parties in the Appeal and to their learned Counsel within three days of its pronouncement. The stenographer is requested to upload this Order on the website of this Commission today itself.