NCDRC | Tata Motors resorted to deceptive trade practice by alluring customers and promoting sale of their cars; Decision of below fora — upheld

National Consumer Redressal Commission (NCDRC): C. Vishwanath (Presiding Member) dismissed the revision petition filed by Tata Motors Limited against the West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Kolkata.

Case of the complainant was that he was allured by advertisement issued by petitioner to purchase a model of Tata Indigo-CS Car. In the advertisement issues by Tata Motors and Tata Motor Finance that the vehicle would give a mileage of 25 kmpl. Complainant brought to the notice of OPs the shortfall in mileage being given by the car.

Hence in the above view, the complaint was filed with District Forum.

Petitioner had denied all the allegations made by the complainant, apart from questioning the maintainability of the complaint, that there was no expert opinion, the ARAI certified mileage of 25 kmpl was not for the vehicle concerned and that the complainant was not the owner of the vehicle, as the same was hypothecated to the bank.

OP 2 had denied all the allegations and stated that the Complainant had bought the vehicle after a test drive and satisfying himself about the car. The shortfall in mileage was attributed to the rough handling of the car and the bad condition of the road.

District Forum directed OPs to refund the cost of vehicle, compensation and cost to the Complainant. Complainant was also directed to pay all the bank dues and make arrangements to return the vehicle.

Aggrieved by district forum’s order, OP-Tata Motors Ltd., filed an appeal before the State Commission and State Commission partly allowed the appeal. OPs were jointly and severally directed to pay punitive damages for taking recourse to deceptive trade practice by way of misleading advertisement.

Decision

Commission stated that both the fora below came to a concurrent finding that the OPs resorted to deceptive trade practice by alluring customers and promoting the sale of their cars. Advertisement also had not mentioned whether the mileage shown was for diesel or petrol car.

Thus, the Commission did not find any infirmity or illegality in the order passed by the fora below.

Jurisdiction of NCDRC under Section 21(b) was also found to be very limited. The commission in its opinion was not required to reassess or re-appreciate the evidence and substitute its opinion to the concurrent findings of fact by the fora below.

Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in, Lourdes Society Snehanjali Girls Hostel v. H & R Johnson (India) Ltd., (2016) 8 SCC 286, wherein it was held that,

“The National Commission has to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it only if the State Commission or the District Forum has failed to exercise their jurisdiction or exercised when the same was not vested in their or exceeded their jurisdiction by acting illegally or with material irregularity. In the instant case, the National Commission has certainly exceeded its jurisdiction by setting aside the concurrent finding of fact recorded in the order passed by the State Commission which is based upon valid and cogent reasons.”

Therefore, in the above view, petitioner failed to point out any miscarriage of justice or that the findings were perverse. [Tata Motors Ltd. v. Pradipta Kundu, Revision Petition No. 2133 of 2015, decided on 02-03-2020]

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