S.D. Agarwal, Presiding Member
1. This appeal is preferred by the opposite party no. 2 & 3/appellants under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 being aggrieved by the order dated 22.06.2013 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Neemuch in CC No. 80/2011 by which the complaint filed by the complainant/respondent no.1 has been allowed and the opposite party no.2/ appellant no.1 has been ordered to make payment of Rs.1,64,000/- along with interest and compensation of Rs.34,000/- towards financial loss and mental agony caused and Rs.10,000/- as costs of the proceedings.
2. Brief facts of the case as narrated by the complainant/respondent no.1 in the complaint before the Forum are that the complainant Gomabai Netralaya had purchased 4 split AC from the seller, the opposite party no.1/respondent no.2. Payment of Rs.1,64,000/- was made through opposite party no.4/respondent no.3. Since the installation of the ACs, troubles started and water started leaking out from the said ACs. On complaint being made by the complainant to the opposite parties, mechanics were sent. The defect found in the ACs was 'Controller PCV'. After servicing, remarks were made 'Water wash servicing done'. According to complainant, despite several complaints defects in the AC were not removed. On being aggrieved with the deficiency in service in repairing the ACs, the complaint was filed before the District Forum.
3. The opposite party no.1 and 4/respondent no.2 & 3, filed their written statement. The opposite party no.2 & 3/appellants remained absent before the Forum. In the reply filed by the opposite party no.1 & 4 it is submitted that if there is any manufacturing defect in the said ACs, the manufacturer be contacted and the manufacturer is responsible for the same. It is also submitted by the opposite party no.4 that he intimated the rest of the opposite parties regarding problems in the ACs from time to time.
4. The District Forum after considering the pleadings made by the counsels for parties and appreciating evidence on record, observed that there was manufacturing defect in the ACs supplied to the complainant and despite repeated complaints neither problem was removed nor ACs were replaced. The District Forum therefore allowed the complaint and directed the opposite party no.2 the manufacturer to refund price of ACs Rs.1,64,000/- with interest along with compensation and costs.
5. Being aggrieved by the impugned order, the opposite party no.2 and 3 have filed this appeal stating that there was no manufacturing defect in the ACs supplied to the complainant and the ACs were purchased for commercial purpose and since the complainant did not purchase the ACs for domestic or personal use, the complainant is not a consumer and the District Forum has erred in allowing the complaint. It is reiterated in this appeal that the appellants are the manufactures of ACs, who sold the ACs through their agents. Due service was also provided, which can be verified from the job service reports. The appellants have also reiterated that the defects were removed from time to time, therefore, their appeal be allowed and the order of the District Forum be set-aside.
6. Heard learned counsel for appellants and respondent no.1. None appeared for respondent no.2 and 3. Perused the record.
7. Learned counsel for appellants/opposite party no.2 & 3 argued the matter on the question of admission of complaint before the District Forum and vehemently argued that the complainant is not a consumer, rather it is a trust, as held by the Forum in paragraph 12 of its impugned order. He also cited the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Pratibha Pratisthan & Ors Vs Manager, Canara Bank & Ors IV (2017) CPJ 7 (SC) wherein, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that Trust is not a person, therefore, the complainant is not a consumer. He argued that the complainant being a trust is not competent to file a complaint before the Consumer Forum. He therefore prayed for dismissal of complaint on this ground alone.
8. Learned counsel for respondent argued that the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court has come in the year 2017, whereas, the complaint has already been decided in the year 2013.
9. After giving consideration to the arguments advanced by the counsels for parties, we find that the Forum has already held in paragraph 12 of the impugned order and it is clear from the complaint that the complainant is a trust. In view of the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Pratibha Pratisthan the complainant does not include a Trust and trust is not a person under Section 2 (1)(m) of the Act and therefore not a consumer, we conclude that the complainant-Gomabai Netralaya is not a consumer and the complain
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
t filed by it, is not maintainable before the Consumer Forum. 10. In the result, the appeal is allowed and the impugned order is set-aside. Consequenly, the complaint filed by the complainant/respondent is also dismissed. However, the complainant shall be at liberty to seek remedy as may be available to them in law and while doing so, they shall be entitled to claim the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act for the purpose of time spent before the District Forum and this Commission. No order as to costs.