1. This revision petition has been filed under section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the impugned order dated 02.05.2016, passed by the Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘the State Commission’) in First Appeal No. 1292/2012, 'Tricity Auto & Ors. versus Subash Chand', vide which, while dismissing the said appeal, the order dated 06.09.2012, passed by the District Forum Mohali, allowing the consumer complaint No. 219/2012, filed by the present respondent/complainant, was upheld.
2. The facts of the case are that Subhash Chand filed the consumer complaint in question, saying that he booked a new Maruti Suzuki Swift Dezire Car with the petitioner dealer Tricity Autos by making a payment of Rs. 50,000/-, as earnest money, although, the usual payment for booking amount was Rs. 10,000/-. The complainant made this booking on 02.02.2012 and deposited the excess amount, as he required the said car within a short time. On 28.04.2012, the OPs asked the complainant to deposit the entire remaining amount of the car, so that the delivery of the car could be given to him. The complainant deposited a sum of Rs. 1 lakh in cash vide receipt No. CB794 dated 28.04.2012 and also made payment of Rs. 6 lakhs by means of Bank draft from the United Bank of India vide receipt No. CB864 dated 30.04.2012. In this way, the complainant made payment of Rs. 7,50,000/- in total by 30.04.2012, but despite visiting the OPs time and again, the vehicle was not delivered to him on 30.04.2012. The complainant again visited the show-room of the OP on 2.05.2012, but the car was not delivered to him. On 14.05.2012, he visited the show-room again with his friends, but the OP used abusive language against them and refused to give the delivery of the car and stated that the amount deposited will be returned to him. Alleging harassment against him, the complainant filed the consumer complaint in question, seeking directions to the OP to pay Rs. 14 lakh as compensation and Rs. 22,000/- as litigation cost.
3. The complaint was resisted by the OP dealer by saying that a sum of Rs. 7,49,400/- had already been refunded to the complainant on 05.06.2012 vide cheques drawn on ING Vysay Bank Limited and hence, the complaint was not maintainable. It is further stated that the complainant had created nuisance in their show-room. It is stated that the complainant first booked a car of blue colour with the OP, but later on changed to white colour as per letter dated 04.02.2012.
4. Vide order dated 06.09.2012, the District Forum after considering the averments of the parties, allowed the consumer complaint and directed the OP to deliver white Swift Dezire DZI car to the complainant within 15 days of the receipt of copy of the order. The OP was also directed to pay Rs. 1 lakh as compensation for harassment etc. and Rs. 10,000/- as litigation cost.
5. Being aggrieved against the said order of the District Forum, the OP dealer challenged the same by way of an appeal before the State Commission, but the said appeal having been dismissed vide impugned order, the OP dealer is before this Commission by way of the present revision petition.
6. During hearing on the revision petition, notice was sent to the respondent/complainant for appearance before this Commission. However, the respondent/complainant did not appear before this Commission despite service and hence, he was proceeded against exparte.
7. During arguments before this Commission, the learned counsel for the petitioner/OP stated that they had told the complainant on the date of booking, i.e., 02.02.2012 itself that there was a waiting period of five months with regard to the delivery of the car. It was further stated that the complainant visited the petitioner on 28.04.12 and requested them to accept another sum of Rs. 1 lakh towards sale consideration of the vehicle. On that day also, he was told that the waiting period for the vehicle is 5 months. The complainant again visited on 30.04.2012 and deposited a sum of Rs. 6 lakh after availing loan from the Bank. Thereafter, the complainant started visiting at intervals of 2 to 3 days, pressurising them for the delivery of the vehicle and even threatened them with adverse consequences. The petitioners have further stated that they contacted the complainant telephonically a number of times in the month of May, 2012, but the complainant refused to take the delivery of the vehicle. A formal letter dated 31.05.2012 was also sent to him, stating that the vehicle was ready for delivery, and that he should get the same after completing all the formalities. It was made clear in the letter that if the complainant did not come forward to get the delivery of the vehicle within 5 working days, the vehicle shall be offered to some other customer. Since the complainant did not respond to the said letter, the petitioners/OPs cancelled the booking made by him and sent a letter dated 08.06.2012, stating that the vehicle had been ready for delivery since 25.05.2012, but since he refused to take the delivery in question and insisted for refund, the amount of Rs. 7,49,400/-, was being refunded to him and his Bank. Two cheques – one for Rs. 6 lakh in favour of the Union Bank of India and another for Rs. 1,49,400/- in favour of the complainant, were issued on 05.06.2012. The petitioner stated that there was no deficiency in service on their part and hence, the orders passed by the consumer fora below should be set aside, having been made on an erroneous interpretation of the facts and circumstances on record.
8. I have examined the entire material on record and given a thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced before me.
9. From the version given by the complainant in his consumer complaint and the version given by the petitioners in their revision petition, it is proved that a sum of Rs. 50,000/- was deposited by the complainant as booking amount with the OPs on 02.02.2012. Later on, a sum of Rs. 1 lakh was paid in cash by the complainant to the OPs on 28.04.2012 and a further sum of Rs. 6 lakh was paid to the OPs on 30.04.2012. In this way, a total sum of Rs. 7,50,000/- was paid by the complainant to the OPs for getting the delivery of the Dezire Car. It has been stated in the order of the State Commission that the Sales Manager of the OPs had sent a letter to the complainant, saying that the car would be delivered before 21.05.2012. However, the said delivery was not made to the complainant and the OPs opted to refund the deposited amount without any rhyme or reason. The State Commission also observed that withholding the delivery of the car amounts to deficiency in service on the part of the OPs. The District Forum has also observed that there was no written request made by the complainant for the refund of his amount. The OPs have stated in the memo of revision petition that they informed the complainant telephonically in the month of May, 2012 to take the delivery of the Car, but he could not come forward to take the same. However, this plea has not been taken in the written reply filed by them, leading to the conclusion that the version given by the OPs on this account is not correct. Further, the District Forum also observed that the OPs failed to place on record, the details of the cars received by them from the manufacturer, since the date of booking made by the complainant till the date of institution of the complaint, alongwith the names of the persons for whom the manufacturer had dispatched the cars to them. There was, therefore, deficiency in service or unfair trade practice on the part of the OPs. A perusal of the letter dated 31.05.2012 indicates that they asked the complainant to take the delivery of the vehicle within five working days, and on his failure to do so, they shall offer it to the next customer. On 05.06.2012 itself, two cheques – one for Rs. 6 lakh in favour of the Union Bank of India and another for Rs. 1,49,400/- in favour of the complainant, were issued by the OPs. There is a letter dated 05.06.2012 sent by the OPs to the Union Bank of India, saying that the complainant had refused to take the delivery of the vehicle, citing personal reasons and had requested them to return the amount of Rs. 6 lakh to the Bank. From the material available on record, it is not proved anywhere, whether the complainant requested the dealer to return the amount of Rs. 6 lakh to the Bank. Evidently, it is misstatement on the part of the OPs. The OPs have written another letter dated 05.06.2012 to the complainant, saying that the vehicle was available for delivery since 25.05.2012, but he had refused to take the delivery of the vehicle and hence, the payment made by him had been refunded in his account. The version given by the OPs that the complainant had refused to take the car is not proved by any evidence on record. On the other hand, both the consumer fora below have stated in categorical terms that the OPs refused to give the delivery of the vehicle to the complainant without any valid reason and hence, there was deficiency in service on their part. I, therefore, do not find any illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the orders passed by the Consumer Fora below. Moreover, it is a settled legal position that powers in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction should be used only if there is a jurisdictional error or material defect in the orders passed by the Consumer Fora below. The Hon’ble Apex Court in their judgment in 'Rubi (Chandra) Dutta Vs. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. [(2011) 11 SCC 269]' have taken this view.
10. In the instant case, however, the District Forum directed the petitioner
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s/OPs to deliver the car within a period of 15 days from the receipt of a certified copy of their order and the complainant was directed to pay the amount within 5 days from the receipt of the order. For deficiency in service, unfair trade practice and harassment etc., the petitioners/OPs were directed to pay a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 10,000/- as cost of litigation. The said order was confirmed by the State Commission in appeal. At this stage, since a period of more than 5 years has already elapsed, the complainant may not be interested to purchase the vehicle from the petitioners/OPs. The orders passed by the consumer fora below are, therefore, modified to say that the petitioners/OPs shall be liable to pay only a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the complainant as well as the cost of litigation of Rs. 10,000/- in terms of the orders of the consumer fora below. 11. Based on the discussion above, this revision petition stands disposed of with the modification in the orders of the consumer fora below as stated above. There shall be no order as to costs.