National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi

K S Chaudhari, Presiding Member and Dr B C Gupta, Member

Honda Siel Cars India Ltd (now Honda Cars India Ltd) & Anr – Petitioners

Versus

Abdul K Rubb - Respondent

Revision Petition No. 4358 of 2012                          Decided on 17.12.2013 

(From the order dated 29.6.2012 in Appeal No. 232 & 507/11 of the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Thiruvananthapuram)

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections (5, 17, 19 and 21 – Manufacturing defect - Complaint allowed by Fora below - Vehicle was sold without ABS system - When car was not sold with ABS system, there was no question of directing OPs to instal ABS system in car free of cost or pay money in alternate - Stopping of vehicle depends upon application of brake and car will stop at a distance according to pressure applied on brakes - No manufacturing defect in braking system of vehicle can be inferred - District Forum committed error in treating manufacturing defect in braking system and directing OPs to provide ABS system free of cost - State Commission further committed error in dismissing appeal - Impugned order set side and complaint dismissed.     (Paras 5 to 10) 

Result: Revision petition allowed.

Important Point

No manufacturing defect in vehicle can be inferred. 

Order

1.K S Chaudhari, Presiding Member - This revision petition has been filed by the Petitioners against the order dated 29.6.2012 passed by the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Thiruvananthapuram (in short, 'the State Commission') in Appeal No. 232 & 507/11 - Honda Siel Cars India Ltd & Anr Vs Abdul K Rubb, by which, while dismissing appeal of both the parties, order of District Forum allowing complaint was affirmed.

2.Brief facts of the case are that Complainant/Respondent purchased car KL- 7BF 1255 from OP No. 2/Petitioner No. 2, which was manufactured by OP No. 1/Petitioner No. 1. During driving of the vehicle, Complainant found problem in brake system. OP No. 2 failed to rectify defects in the brake system, which is a manufacturing defect. Alleging deficiency on the part of OPs, Complainant filed complaint for replacement of the vehicle along with compensation. OP No. 1 submitted that its technical team conducted detailed inspection of the car, but found no defect in the car and prayed for dismissal of complaint. OP No. 2 filed written statement and submitted that at no point of time, OPs represented to the Complainant that vehicle would stop at the point whenever the brake is applied at a speed of 120-140 km/hr. It was further submitted that OP examined the brake and found the same proper and prayed for dismissal of complaint. Learned District Forum, after hearing both the parties, partly allowed complaint and directed OPs to instal ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) in the car of the Complainant free of cost or, in the alternate, to pay Rs. 1,00,000 as compensation, being cost of the ABS. Complainant and OPs filed appeals before the State Commission and learned State Commission vide impugned order dismissed both the appeals against which, this revision petition has been filed. 

3.Heard learned Counsel for the Petitioners and authorized representative of Respondent finally at admission stage and perused record. 

4.Learned Counsel for the Petitioners submitted that car was not sold with ABS system and the Complainant failed to prove manufacturing defect in the brake system; even then, learned District Forum has committed error in dismissing appeal; hence, revision petition be allowed and impugned order be set aside. On the other hand, authorized representative of Respondent submitted that order passed by learned State Commission is in accordance with law;  hence, revision petition be dismissed. 

5.Perusal of record clearly reveals that vehicle was sold without ABS system as per certificate for additional compliance to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules. When the car was not sold with ABS system, there was no question of directing OPs to instal ABS system in the car free of cost or pay money in the alternate. 

6.As far as manufacturing defect in the brake system is concerned, learned Counsel for the Petitioner has drawn our attention towards inspection report prepared by Mr V V Jayaprasad, Lecturer in Automobile Engg. In this report, three tests were conducted at the speed of 100 km/hr. In first test, car stopped at a distance of 86.5 metres; whereas in the second test, car stopped at a distance of 51.6 metres; and in the third test, car stopped at a distance of 44.1 metres. Thus, it becomes clear that stopping of vehicle depends upon the application of brake and car will stop at a distance according to the pressure applied on brakes. On perusal of this inspection report, it cannot be inferred that there was any manufacturing defect in the brake system. Learned Counsel for the Petitioners has also drawn our attention towards cross-examination of the witness, who admitted that if brake is applied at 100 km/hr speed, in normal course, vehicle should stop at 180 metres. In the case in hand, vehicle stopped at 86.5 metres, 51.6 metres and 44.1 metres, respectively, in three tests. In such circumstances, no manufacturing defect in the brake system can be inferred. 

7.This witness also admitted in cross-examination that this inspection report does not state about load, road conditions and tyre pressure. At the time of inspection, these factors are very relevant for examining brake system and any inspection report given without considering these factors has no evidentiary value. He also admitted in the cross-examination that he has not studied about brake system of modern vehicles at academic level. He also admitted that he was never associated with the servicing or testing of luxury cars. He also cannot say about the type of braking system used in the disputed vehicle. 

8.Perusal of statement clearly reveals that inspection report given by the witness V V Jayaprasad cannot be relied and on the basis of this report, no manufacturing defect in the braking system of vehicle can be inferred. 

9.In the light of above discussion, we find that learned District Forum has committed error in treating manufacturing defect in the braking system and directing OPs to provide ABS system free of cost. Learned State Commission further committed error in dismissing appeal. 

10.Consequently, the revision petition filed by the Petitioners is allowed and impugned order dated 20.6.2012 passed by learned State Commission in Appeal No.232/2011 – M/s Honda Siel Cars India Ltd & Anr Vs Abdul K Rubb and order of District Forum dated 8.4.2008 passed in Complaint Case No. 183/09 is set aside and complaint stands dismissed with no order as to costs. 

It is observed further that the complaint mentions about problems in brake system of the vehicle. The Complainant has not stated that ABS system of brake should be installed. In the interest of justice, the Petitioner No.  1 should depute a suitable technical personnel to inspect the vehicle and rectify the defect, if any, and ensure that it is a defect-free vehicle.

 

 

 

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