At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.S. SATHEESACHANDRAN
By, PRESIDENT & THE HONOURABLE MR. V.V. JOSE
For the Appellant: P. Balakrishnan, Advocate. For the Respondent: ---------
S.S. Satheesachandran: President
Opposite party in CC 172/2014 of the District Forum, Alappuzha is the appellant. Challenge is against the adverse Order passed against the appellant exparte by the Forum directing for allowing the complainant to remit all arrears, and thereupon, to return his vehicle. Appellant was also directed to pay Rs.1000/- each as compensation and cost by the Forum.
2. Notice issued was served on the respondent/complainant, but, he has elected to remain absent.
3. We heard learned counsel for appellant and also perused the records. Other than producing some documents which are exhibited as A1 to A5, complainant has not tendered any evidence in support of his case and the Forum below went wrong in upholding his claims submits counsel for appellant. Vehicle purchased by complainant with financial assistance of by appellant with condition of instalment payment fixed was defaulted and the complainant himself produced and handed over the vehicle since he was unable to remit periodical instalments, is the further submission of the counsel. Without appreciating the above admitted facts the Forum had accepted his allegation that he approached the opposite party to clear off the arrears, but it was refused to be accepted. No material was produced to substantiate that case, and Order passed by the Forum is liable to be set aside and case remitted providing an opportunity to appellant to contest the proceedings, is the plea of counsel.
4. Perusing the Order passed by the Forum with reference to the material available on record we find considerable force in the submissions made by the counsel. Complainant has not tendered any material to prove that he approached the opposite party with the amount due payable towards arrears on the loan avaled. Even before the Forum he did not show that he had the funds to clear off the loan liability to be discharged to the opposite party. When that be so, even if opposite party remained exparte, the Forum could not have accepted his case and passed an order directing the opposite party to collect the arrears and release the vehicle. Learned counsel for appellant would submit that the vehicle had already been sold and an arbitration award had been passed against the complaint. Whatever that be, we, at this stage, do not wish to express any opinion over the merits of the claim. Whatever observations made above are to be treated not impinging the case of complainant or that of opposite party. As we are of the view that the case has to be decided afresh on merits affording reasonable opportunity to both sides to establish their case.
5. Order declaring the opposite party exparte is set aside with direction that it shall file version before the Forum within a period of 4 weeks from the date of first posting of the case after remission. Appellant shall also deposit a sum of Rs.10000/- as cost payable to complainant within the above period. Cost deposited to be released to the complainant if he appears on remission of the case. Acceptance of version of the opposite party will be subject to deposit of cost ordered as above. Since respondent/complainan
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t remains absent before this Commission the Forum is directed to issue him notice intimating him the date of hearing for his appearance either in person or through counsel. 6. Subject to the directions as above the order of the Forum is set aside and the case is remitted with direction to dispose of the case as expeditiously as possible.