Friday, March 24, 2023

NCDRC Upholds State Forum, Dismisses Plea Against Mahindras For Faulty Airbags

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The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has dismissed a petition challenging the Delhi State Commission order rejecting a complaint against automaker Mahindra & Mahindra  for its failure to repair  the faulty air bags in her car for six and half months.

The NCDRC held that the order of State Commission which said, “that appellant (Priya Ajit Singh) had sold the vehicle during the pendency of said complaint. Therefore, the appellant was not a ‘Consumer’ as per Section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Consumer Protection Act.”

Acting upon the plea, Mr. Prem Narain, the Presiding Member and . C. Vishwanath, Member noted that Singh had sold the vehicle during the pendency of the Complaint before State Commission, without their prior permission. It is therefore not possible to get the vehicle inspected by an expert to ascertain the defects as mentioned by the appellant in the complaint. The appellant herself admitted the fact that she sold the vehicle during the pendency of the complaint.

Singh had purchased a Mahindra XUV 500 from its dealership at Kandiwali  in Mumbai. Later, Arjun Singh Bawa, son of Priya Ajit Singh  and his driver  Jaichand met with an accident while going to Agra. A truck crashed into the rear side of the vehicle but it was alleged that despite such magnitude of accident, none of the eight airbags deployed in the vehicle was activated. The vehicle had been insured by ICICI Lombard  and after the accident,  the vehicle was sent to Bhasin Motors for repair. In the meantime, the authorised representative from insurance company visited appellant’s  house and took  the relevant documents. The appellant sent various letters to the company seeking information about the vehicle and expressed her displeasure and inconvenience. Despite that she hadn’t got any satisfactory reply from the respondents and her vehicle had not been repaired for over 6 and half months.

After that Bhasin Motors sent a mail to appellant and apologised for long delay and informed her that she can pick up her vehicle. After, which she had visited the garage and found that her vehicle was in  bad condition. There were scratches all over the vehicle and none of the fittings had been done properly. She then filed a complaint before the State forum  saying due to inefficiency on part of the company her vehicle was not capable of being repaired and liable to be replaced and she had been spending money on taxis ever since the accident. During the pendency of the Complaint it was informed to court by Bhasin Motors that appellant sold the vehicle and in return she got Rs. 10,00,000/- and therefore her complaint should be dismissed.

Justice K. Shreedhar Rao in a judgment had previously ordered the Central Government, “not to permit the auto manufacturers to release and sell the small 4-wheelers with a mass up to 1500 kg and quadri-cycles without putting them to crash-test and emission test”.Hence, the dismissal is allowed on the grounds that the vehicle in question has been sold. Also, the appellant is not a “consumer” under the Consumer Protection Act anymore.

Reacting to the judgement, senior lawyer Pradeep Rai stated that “Every company give undertaking before the license authority prior to manufacturing  or launch of of new model that they will conduct a crash test. This is one of the mandatory clause in the interest of passengers imposed by the licensing authority. Unfortunately, this is not followed”

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