At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Jaimon Andrews, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1, Shinoj K. Naraynan, R2 & R3, Shyam Padman, Advocate.
The complainant purchased tiles worth Rs.70,799/- with tax amounting to Rs.8849/- on the said purchase. The tiles were manufactured by the respondent H & R Johnson(India)Ltd. and the petitioner was the authorized dealer of the manufacturer. The tiles, according to the complainant, were defective, as a result of which when they were laid in his house, their sides projected upwards causing injury to him and his family. The defects were pointed out to the petitioner but nothing was done to address the grievance of the complainant. He, therefore, approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint seeking cost of the tiles, the cost of laying tiles and compensation etc. The petitioner as well as the manufacturer were impleaded as the opposite parties in the complaint.
2. The petitioner did not contest the complaint but it was contested by the manufacturer which denied the alleged defect in the tiles and also submitted that it was a reputed manufacturer of tiles and was manufacturing them in a state-of-art plant. It was also claimed by the manufacturer that the tiles had not been properly laid by the contractor engaged by the complainant and that is why they were projecting upwards.
3. The District Forum vide order dated 13.11.2009 having allowed the consumer complaint and having directed the petitioner as well as the manufacturer to pay a sum of Rs. 103650/-. Interest @ 10% p.a. from the date of the order was also awarded.
4. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the District Forum the manufacturer H & R Johnson(India)Ltd.approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide its order dated 10.5.2010 the State Commission remitted the matter back to the District Forum for deciding it afresh. Thereafter the District Forum vide its order dated 27.02.2012 allowed the consumer complaint only against the petitioner, directing it to pay Rs. 11,00,000/- to the complainant.
5. Being aggrieved from the aforesaid second order of the District Forum the petitioner approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide impugned order dated 31.07.2012 the State Commission directed the petitioner to pay a sum of Rs. 1,10,000/- to the complainant. The cost amounting to Rs. 2500/- which the District Forum had awarded in favour of the complainant, however, was set aside. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the State Commission the petitioner is before this Commission by way of this Revision Petition.
6. The submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner are two-fold. His first submission is that there was no manufacturing defect in the tiles and the contractor appointed by the complainant had not laid the tiles properly as a result of which the Court Commissioner found them to be projecting upwards. The second submission is that the petitioner had sold the tiles as purchased by him from the manufacturer and, therefore, if there is any manufacturing defect in the tiles it is for the manufacturer and not for the petitioner to compensate the complainant.
7. As regards the first submission, there is a finding of fact recorded by the Fora below that there was manufacturing defect in the tiles sold by the petitioner to the complainant. The above-referred finding of fact was based upon the record of the Court Commissioner. I have perused the report of the Court Commissioner. The report to the extent it is relevant reads as under:-
Workmenship are kept while laying tiles but due to defect in tiles sides are projected upwards in many places.
Opposite parties exploited the lack of technical knowledge of the complainant and supplied the low cost and inferior quality of tiles.
Due to defective quality of the tiles, many tiles are having bents hence projected upwards causing inconvenience and injury to occupants. Many tiles are having bents which are purely of manufacturing defects.
The floor surface cannot be demolished without breaking tiles or it cannot be reused or change the defective tiles alone so remedy is to replace the tiles of the entire floor surface relaying with fresh quality of tiles which the complainant previously ordered.”
8. It is evident from the report of the court commissioner that the tiles which the petitioner sold to the complainant were defective and that is why they were projecting upwards on the sides at many places. The Court Commissioner was an engineer and he had inspected the house after notice to the parties. The petitioner had not attended the proceedings conducted by the Court Commissioner despite notice. The report of the Court Commissioner leaves no doubt that the tiles were projecting upwards on account of the same being defective and not on account of any defect in the workmanship.
9. No expert evidence was produced either by the petitioner or by the manufacturer to prove that there was no manufacturing defect in the tiles. Thus the technical evidence in the form of the report of the Court Commissioner remained wholly unrebutted. If there was no manufacturing defect in the tiles nothing prevented either the petitioner or the manufacturer from producing an expert to prove that the tiles were of standard quality and there was no manufacturing defect in them.
10. For the reasons stated hereinabove I find no reason to take a view contrary to the view taken by the Fora below as far as the quality of the tiles is concerned. The petitioner having sold defective tiles to the complainant is liable to compensate him not only for the cost of the tiles but also for the cost of laying those tiles. But since the tiles su
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ffered from a manufacturing defect, it will be open to the petitioner to recover the amount payable to the complainant in terms of the order passed by the Fora below from the manufacturer of the tiles. As far as the complainant is concerned the liability to pay the compensation would be joint as well as several meaning thereby that the petitioner as well as the manufacturer both will be liable to pay to the complainant. The complainant will be entitled to recover the said amount from either of them. Ultimately, the liability would fall on the manufacturer, the tiles being defective. The revision petition stands disposed of accordingly.