At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. T.S.P. MOOSATH
By, JUDICIAL MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MRS. A. BEENA KUMARI
For the Appellant: R. Narayan, Advocate. For the Respondent: -----
A. Beena Kumari, Member
Opposite party in C.C. 45/2017 on the file of Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum , Idukki is the appellant and respondent is the complainant in that case. The opposite party was exparte in that case. The Forum passed order in favour of the complainant. Hence this appeal
2. Brief facts of the case are as follows:-
3. The opposite party in the Forum below is the appellant. The respondent is the consumer complainant. The case concerns an alleged deficiency in service on the part of the appellant/opposite party in not issuing a clearance certificate for vehicle tax purposes in favour of the respondent/ complainant.
4. The case of the complainant /respondent in brief is that:- the complainant saw an advertisement in the newspaper of a sale of a used 2008 model ambulance traveller bearing No. KL. 5Z-2704 belonging to the appellant/opposite party. Accordingly in May 2015, the complainant purchased the same for an amount of Rs. 2,95,000/-. Thereafter on the basis of the clearance given by the opposite party, the RC was changed into the name of complainant. The opposite party institution had several concessions from the Government in operating the vehicle as an ambulance. The opposite party had assured the complainant that they will do the needful to the complainant to use the vehicle as a transport vehicle . the complainant is now using the vehicle as a hearse for moving dead bodies and that is her source of livelihood. Every 12 months tax has to be paid on the vehicle. The opposite party had tax exemption and they did not have to pay the tax as per Kerala Motor Transport Workers Welfare fund scheme. On the assurance of the opposite party that they will obtain the clearance for exemption of tax the complainant paid tax upto 31/03/2017. However, the complainant is informed that unless clearance is obtained from the opposite party further tax cannot be remitted. But, inspite or repeated requests, the opposite party is deliberately not issuing clearance and the complainant is not able to pay the tax the failure of which tantamount to deficiency in service. This also goes against the assurance of the opposite party that they will do everything to make use the vehicle as a transport vehicle. The complainant has spent Rs. 6 lakhs towards repair of the vehicle. Hence the complaint filed for getting compensation of Rs. 9 lakhs together with another Rs. 50,000/- towards compensation towards deficiency in service and other reliefs. Though notice was served opposite party did not appear and remained exparte.
5. On the basis of the evidence submitted by the complainant the District Forum directed the opposite party to “ issue clearance for payment of tax” and also to pay Rs.5000/- as compensation together with 12% further interest. Aggrieved by the said order this appeal is filed. Main contention raised by the appellant is that the Lower Forum ought to have found that there was no consideration or contractual relation between the complainant and appellant and hence ought to have dismissed the complaint. They argued that RTO is a necessary party to the dispute, but the complaint not made the RTO as a party. They further argued that the direction of the District Forum to pay compensation of Rs. 5000/- and future interest at 12% is astonishing, baseless based on whims and fancies and the same does not commensurate with the alleged loss suffered by the complainant.
6. In this case the opposite party was remained exparte. The reason stated for their non –appearance is that opposite party’s clerk accepted the notice and the same had misplaced. No intimation about the notice was give to the general manager or any other officer of the trust. Under that circumstance the opposite party was set exparte. For that reason the appellant prays for remission of the case for fresh disposal.
7. We heard the appellant , we have not satisfied with the reason stated by the appellant for their non-appearance before the District Forum. But for the interest of justice an opportunity has to be given to the appellant to contest his case before the District Forum and decide the case on merit. Hence we have not gone through the merits of the case.
8. However remission of the case after setting aside the order of the District Forum can be ordered only on terms, directing the appellant to compensate the injury likely to be caused by the delay in culmination of the proceedings to the complainant/respondent. Appellant has to pay Rs. 2600/- as costs to the respondent/ complainant as a condition precedent for setting aside the order and remission of the case.
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
respondent is permitted to get release of the amount of Rs. 2600/-deposited by the appellant at the time of institution of the appeal before this Commission on proper application. In the result, the appeal is partly allowed. The order passed by the District Forum, Idukki in C.C.No. 45/2017 is set aside and the matter is remanded for fresh disposal, after giving opportunity to the appellant to file version and to adduce evidence if any, the District forum shall dispose of the complaint as early as possible.