This Delhi man waited 12 years, fought legal case to get car repaired

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This Delhi man waited 12 years, fought legal case to get car repaired

A Delhi consumer court awarded partial victory to a car owner who fought a 12-year legal case over a defective car. The court ordered the car manufacturer to make the vehicle fully functional but rejected the man's prayer for a replacement car.

Frustrated with the "irreparable manufacturing defects" in a newly bought car, Delhi-based Manan Jain decided to leave the vehicle at an authorised showroom and sought a replacement, or refund.

On being turned down, he decided to knock on the doors of a consumer forum.

After a 12-year-long legal battle, the court directed the manufacturer and showroom authorities to repair the same car and make it fully functional while it also awarded Jain Rs 80,000 as damages for the mental agony suffered.

Jain purchased a Tata Indigo Marina LS in 2004 for Rs 4,79,972 with an extended warranty of 18 months. He alleged that soon after the purchase, he noticed several manufacturing defects in the vehicle and brought this to the notice of the car showroom from where he had bought it.

He said the car was inefficient in terms of fuel consumption as it was giving poor mileage. It had low pickup and did not accelerate properly. The clutch was defective and the vehicle spewed a lot of black smoke because of which he could not get a pollution certificate. The brakes were defective and the air conditioning system was ineffective as it kept tripping every 2-3 minutes.

"Even the engine of the car was making extraordinary knocking sound and was vibrating with a tappet noise. There was improper functioning of alternator because of which the battery was losing its gravity and was creating a problem. The horn was also defective. The shockers of the car were weak," he said.

Jain's lawyers told the court that the car had an inherent manufacturing defect. "Within a period of one year from its purchase, the complainant had visited the workshop as many as 10-12 times. It is contended that considering the repeated visits of the appellant to the workshop for its repairing, the district forum ought to have awarded the refund of the amount or ordered for replacement of car," the court was told.

'NO MANUFACTURING DEFECT'

However, the counsel for the manufacturer argued that the complainant had concealed the fact that the vehicle had met with an accident and there was no manufacturing defect. He also told the court that Jain had abandoned the car at the workshop since September 2005 and had not taken the delivery of the vehicle despite written communication. So, the appellant was not entitled to any relief.

While the court observed that the complainant was not justified in leaving the car at the workshop, Justice Veena Birbal said, "When any new car is sold to a consumer, there is an implied contract that the vehicle being sold does not suffer from any kind of fault or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency in standard which is required to be maintained."

The judge said a great mental agony and harassment had been caused to the complainant in taking the car for the removal of the defects a number of times. "By doing so, a person suffers immensely in terms of loss of time, loss of business, physical discomfort and emotional suffering," observed the court.

"In the facts and circumstances of the case, we enhance the award for damages towards mental agony from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80,000, which shall be paid by the car showroom. The car replacement as prayed cannot be allowed. The car at present is lying at the showroom. The manufacturer and dealer shall carry out necessary repairs, make it defect-free and shall hand it over to the complainant within 30 days."

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