The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court held that the repairs may be called for if the vehicle, during the course of use, suffers from technical defect as opposed to a case of manufacturing defect.

The Court held thus in a petition preferred by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. against the order of the State Consumer Commission to replace the vehicle or refund the purchase amount with interest.

A Division Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Puneet Gupta observed, “Indisputably, the vehicle i.e. Maruti Car 800 CC purchased by respondent No. 1 was suffering from a manufacturing defect from the very beginning and, therefore, as is rightly held by the Forum, it was a case of replacement of the vehicle by a new vehicle and not a case of repair. Repairs may be called for if the vehicles purchased during the course of its use suffers from a technical defect and not where the vehicle has manufacturing defect.”

Advocate Aruna Thakur appeared on behalf of the petitioner while none appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, the respondent was the person/consumer who filed a consumer complaint before the Divisional Consumer Forum, Jammu alleging that he purchased a Maruti car which suffered from a technical snag in the very beginning. The defect in the car was brought to the notice of the car dealer but the matter was delayed on one excuse or the other. Ultimately, it was found that the engine of the vehicle had a manufacturing defect and the dealer insisted for repair of the engine after taking down of the car.

The consumer resisted such repair claiming replacement of the defective vehicle by a new one. This was not acceded to by the dealer and hence, a complaint was filed before the Forum. The Forum came to the conclusion that since the vehicle suffered from a manufacturing defect from the very beginning, it was a case of replacement of vehicle and not of repair. It, therefore, allowed the complaint and directed the Maruti company and dealer to either replace the vehicle or refund the amount. Such order was challenged in the State Commission but the same was dismissed and hence, the matter was before the High Court.

The High Court in the above regard noted, “Having heard learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the material on record, we are of the considered opinion that the order impugned passed by the Commissioner does not suffer from any legal infirmity or illegality which may call for interference by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The pre-deposit within stipulated period along with appeal is sine qua non for entertaining an appeal by the Commissioner. Otherwise also, if the appeal is belated, the same is required to be accompanied by an application for condonation of delay wherein sufficient cause for not filing the appeal within time is required to be shown.”

The Court further said that neither application for condonation of delay was filed nor the delay in making the pre-deposit was explained. It added that the Forum took a correct view of the matter.

It, therefore, directed the Maruti company along with the dealer to either replace the vehicle by a new one or in alternative refund the amount of Rs. 1,94,195/- along with an interest @ 9% per annum.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. v. Ramesh Chander Sharma and Anr.

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