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M/s. Wasan Automobiles Ltd. & Another v/s Purshottam Tejwani & Another

    First Appeal Nos. A/2200 & 2236 of 99

    Decided On, 07 May 2015

    At, Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Mumbai

    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellants: K.B. Chandwadkar, Ashutosh Marathe, Advocates. For the Respondents: Meshram, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Shashikant A. Kulkarni, Presiding Judicial Member

[1] These appeals are under Sec.15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 [hereinafter to be referred to as ‘CP Act’].

[2] Both these appeals may be disposed off by a common order. Both the opponents in the trial forum preferred appeals separately against a single judgement. The impugned judgment appealed is rendered by Mumbai Suburban District Forum in Consumer complaint no.87/98 on 10/09/1999.

[3] Original complainant is one of the respondents. Trial forum decided the complaint in his favour to grant Rs.40,000/- as price of the Air Conditionerfitted in the vehicle purchased by him.

[4] Reference herein to the respondent/original complainant be made as complainant for brevity and to appellant/original opponents as Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Wasan Automobiles.

[5] Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. is a manufacturing company whereas Wasan Automobiles is a dealer. Thus, complainant wanted to purchase Armada Jeep [hereinafter to be referred to as vehicle] from Wasan Automobiles. According to the complainant, he booked the same with Air Conditioner company fitted in whereas such vehicle having been not manufactured by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Wasan Automobiles suggested and complainant allegedly accepted the vehicle AC be fitted from outside agency. Entire price of the vehicle was paid whereas separate price for Air conditioner was also paid. In due course of time, Air Conditioner found defective. Complainant alleged deficiency in service and claimed compensation from both the opponents.

[6] Opponent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. took a stand and denied its liability that there is not privity of contract. He is not jointly or severally responsible to make any alleged loss good. The complainant should have proceeded against the Wasan Automobiles alone when he fitted Air Conditioner has purchased from market in vehicle. Whereas Wasan Automobiles took a stand that consumer complaint is not maintainable. There was no deficiency on its part. Complainant voluntarily accepted Air Conditioner to be fitted in the vehicle after its delivery. The learned District Forum heard and decided the issue as aforesaid.

We have heard learned advocate Mr.Ashutosh Marathe for Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., learned advocate Mr.K.B.Chandwadkar for Wasan Automobiles and learned advocate Mr.Meshram for the respondent/complainant. Mr.Meshram submitted that the authority of Hon.National Commission relied on by the appellants is distinguishable on facts.

During the course of arguments, it is brought to our notice that the complainant sold the vehicle in the year 2006. It is unfortunate that the appeals remained pending for years together. It was taken out from the sine-die list for hearing and disposal. Parties were noticed, they appeared and therefore appeals are heard.

[7] During the course of arguments, it is brought to our notice that the learned trial forum has proceeded on assumption that the manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. holds equal responsibility for deficiency in service for providing defective Air Conditioner fitted in vehicle purchased from open market. In fact, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. supports complainant’s statement that it may be defect and deficiency of the dealer i.e.Wasan Automobiles.

Apart from that, when the vehicle was sold in the year 2006 when the appeals were pending, in view of the ratio of the judgment relied on by the appellants the complainant ceases to be ‘consumer’ with the meaning of the CP Act and cannot maintain his claim anymore.

We have given thoughtful consideration about pendency of appeals for longer period. Period is of 15 years normally, for the vehicle to remain on the road after its registration. 1996-2011, during this complete 15 years period even, complainant did not possess the vehicle as owner. In the meanwhile i.e.in the year 2006, he sold the vehicle. Thereby, right of ownership of the vehicle had been transferred in favour of the transferee. Transferee is not made party to the complaint. We are not aware whether the price of the Air Conditioner has been recovered from the transferee or otherwise. There cannot be any parameters to decide whether the complainant was benefited by sale or otherwise. But the fact remains that during the course of valid registration of 15 years, the complainant sold out the vehicle to third person, therefore, he ceases to be consumer.

[8] Even otherwise since complainant is not in possession of the vehicle, now the complainant cannot comply the learned trial forum’s order to return the air conditioner removing from the vehicle.

[9] We are therefore in agreement of the arguments of Mr.Ashutosh Marathe-advocate for Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. that there is no privity of contract between the complainant and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. nor the vehicle sold was having company fitted air conditioner.

In support of proposition that the complainant ceases to be ‘consumer’ if he sells out the vehicle during the pendancy of the complaint or appeal, reliance is placed on the judgement delivered by the Hon’ble National Commission in Revision Petition No2622/2012, M/s.Honda Cars India Ltd. vs. 1.Jatinder Singh Madan and ors.

[10] Though the facts of the case decided by the Hon.Nation

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al Commission are different, ratio applies to the present case. In view of this and reasons recorded above, we are inclined to allow the appeals. Hence, the order. ORDER 1. Both Appeals No.A/99/2200 and A/99/2236 are allowed. Impugned order is set aside and replaced as below :- Consumer complaint no.87/98 stands dismissed. No order as to costs. 2. One set of each appeal compilation be retained. Rest be returned to the appellant forthwith. 3. Certified copies of the order be furnished to the parties forthwith.