Maruti Udyog Ltd Vs. Susheel
Kumar Gabgotra & Anr
 Insc 161 (29 March 2006)
Arijit Pasayat & Tarun
Chatterjee Arijit Pasayat, J.
in this appeal is to the judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the J & K
High Court at Jammu dismissing the appeal filed by the appellant under Section
17 of the J&K Consumers Protection Act, 1988 (in short the 'Act').
Challenge in the said appeal was to the order dated 9.11.1998 passed by the
J&K State Consumer Redressal Commission (in short
the 'Commission') on a complaint filed by respondent no.1. In the complaint
appellant and respondent no.2 were impleaded as the
The factual background in a nutshell
is as follows:
filed a compliant before the Commission seeking a direction to the appellant
herein to take back the Maruti car back and repay an
amount of Rs.1,97,460.37 being the cost of the car
supplied to him, along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent with effect
from 27.11.1996, as the car was defective. He also sought compensation for the
loss at his place of work and coaching charges approximately Rs.60,000/-; Rs.1,00,000/- towards mental agony, physical
deterioration and emotional stress, Rs.15,000/- for his trip to Karnal on the mistaken direction of the appellant and also
Rs.2,500/- towards the costs of litigation and legal consultation.
No.1 complainant had purchased a Maruti Car on
27.11.1996 from the appellant through its authorized dealer, respondent No.2
herein, on payment of Rs.1,97,460.37 as sale price.
After delivery of the car, the complainant noticed that the clutch of the car
was not functioning properly as it developed unusual noise/jerks on running of
defect was brought to the notice of respondent No.2, whose engineer after
examining the defect told the complainant that the clutch is behaving
erratically because of the new engine and it will automatically adjust/become
defect- free after covering some mileage. But it did not happen that way and on
the other hand problem increased. He again reported to respondent No.2
whereupon he was assured that the defect will disappear after the first service
which was done on 19.12.1996. But the defect continued. The complainant again
approached respondent No.2 and was told that the engine will have to be brought
down to locate the trouble which the engineers failed to pin point. The
complainant objected to it as the defect had developed within the warranty
period and approached the Head Office (Marketing) of the appellant at Gurgaon. He wrote letter dated 19.2.1997 bringing to the
appellant's notice about the inherent manufacturing defect in the car and
requested for its replacement. The appellant vide its letter dated 5.3.1997,
advised the complainant to take the car to Modern Automobiles, Karnal, for getting the needful done. He took the car to Karnal on 10.3.1997. But the said concern did not test the
vehicle on the ground that the same had been delivered by respondent No.2 who
was responsible and can repair the vehicle. The complainant came back to
Jammu. On 13.3.1997 the appellant
conceded to have wrongly advised the complainant to take the car to Karnal and asked him to again approach respondent No.2 at
Jammu. On 21.3.1997 Mr. H.S. Chahal, Senior Engineer, Regional Office, Chandigarh, examined the car but the defect
could not be removed which continued to give trouble. The matter was again
reported to the appellant and the complainant again visited respondent No.2 on
17.4.1997 but had to return with persisting defect.
21.4.1997 the complainant addressed a letter to the Chairman-cum-Managing
Director of the appellant-company about the manufacturing defect in the car
sold to him and requested for its replacement. No reply to the said letter was
received. The complainant suffered financial loss not only because of the
callous and careless attitude of the appellant but also on account of the
appellant having sold defective car to the complainant, defects whereof could
not be removed thereby leaving him to face emotional stress, mental agony and
to drive the defective car posing a risk to his life .With these grievances
complainant approached the Commission.
filed their replies before the Commission stating therein that their obligation
under the warranty was only to repair or replace any part found to be
defective. The appellant and its authorized dealer (Respondent No.2) have
attended to the vehicle during the warranty period free of charges and had
carried out necessary repairs and replacement of the components on 21.3.1997 to
the satisfaction of the complainant. The vehicle was again inspected on
29.5.1997 and the complainant was advised to leave the vehicle at the workshop
of the dealer of the appellant at Jammu for inspection and carrying out
necessary repairs to which the complainant did not agree. The correspondence
between the parties has not been denied by the appellant and their dealer
(Respondent No.2). The appellant has claimed that it is not under any
obligation to take back the Maruti car or repay the
sale price to the complainant.
High Court held that the warranty condition relied upon by the appellant did
not warrant interpretation that only the defective part was to be replaced and
not the car itself.
was made to certain observations in the Corpus Juris Secundrum Volume 77 page 1198. It was held that the booklet
containing warranty clearly indicates promise of service and replacement with
certain conditions. It was observed that the Commission was justified in its
conclusion that the appellant had agreed to replace the vehicle and had
admitted that there was manufacturing defect in the concerned part. Reliance
was also placed on a decision of this Court in Tata
Engineering & Locomotive Co. Ltd. v. Gajanan Y. Mandrekar (1997(5) SCC 507). Therefore, the appellant was
directed to replace the car or repay the amount received by it as sale price
with interest @ 18% p.a. w.e.f. 27.11.1996 with costs
awarded by the Commission.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that both
the Commission and the High Court erred in holding that there was an admission
to replace the car and/or admission of any manufacturing defect. The warranty
condition clearly refers to the replacement of the defective part and not of
the car. Observations made in the Corpus Juris Secundrum had been read out of context. It was stated that
at the most the Commission and the High Court could have asked for the
replacement of the defective part or to pay the cost thereof.
counsel for the respondent no.1 supported the orders of the Commission and the
obligation under clause (3) of the Manual reads as under:
defect(s) should be found in a Maruti Vehicle within
the term stipulated above, Maruti's only obligation
is to repair or replace at its sole discretion any part shown to be defective
with a new part of the equivalent at no cost to the owner for parts or labour, when Maruti acknowledges
that such a defect is attributable to faculty material or workmanship at the
time of manufacture. The owner is responsible for any repair or replacement which are not covered by this warranty."
The Commission and the High Court have relied on so called admission of the
appellant in para 3 of the objections filed before
the Commission. In various documents, more particularly letter dated 19.2.1997
written by respondent no.1 to the appellant, it is clearly stated that
appellant had indicated that downing of the engine was necessary to trace the
problem. There was no agreement to replace the engine system. Additionally, it
is not disputed by learned counsel for the respondent no.1 that when appellant
had asked the vehicle to be brought for the aforesaid purpose the respondent
no.1 had not done so. To infer that there was any manufacturing defect in the
said background is without any foundation.
Corpus Juris Secundrum the
observations to which reference was made by the High Court read as follows:
a sale of a motor vehicle by a manufacturer to dealer there may be an implied
warranty that it is reasonably fit for, or adapted to, the uses for which it is
made and sold; and such a warranty is not excluded by the silence of the
contract of sale as to warranties." The principles stated above can never
be doubted. But what is relevant in the case at hand is that the warranty
conditions were specially stated. This is not a case of silence of a contract
of sale as to warranty. Therefore, the High Court was not justified in
directing replacement of the vehicle.
the peculiar fact of the case relief to the respondent no.1 has to be moulded. In almost a similar case certain directions were
given in Jose Phillip Mampillil v. Premier
Automobiles Ltd. (2004 (2) SCC 278).
line with what has been stated in the aforesaid case, we direct as follows:-
On respondent no.1 taking the
vehicle in question to the authorized service centre of the appellant at
Jammu within three weeks, the defective
part that is clutches assembly shall be replaced. Respondent no.1 shall not be
required to pay any charge for the replacement.
In addition, respondent no.1 shall
be entitled to receive a consolidated sum of Rs. 50,000/- (rupees fifty
thousand only) from the appellant for cost of travel to Karnal which admittedly
was wrongly advised by the appellant, for the inconvenience caused to
respondent no.1 on account of the acts of the appellant and the respondent no.2
and the cost of litigation.
appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent. There shall be no order as to costs.