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National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Anup K Thakur (Presiding Member), held that delivering the vehicle and withholding the documents of the said vehicle would amount to illegal delivery of the vehicle.

Factual Matrix

Respondent 1/ Complainant had purchased a Tata Spacio Car from the petitioner/OP 1. Complainant towards the purchase of the car had paid Rs 30,000 vide two cheques and Rs 8,100 separately for registration, insurance, service charges, etc., to OP 1. However, at the time of delivery, OP 1 had retained original documents of registration and insurance. OP1’s case was and continues to be that these were retained as the complainant had not paid the balance amount to him. Rs 1,15, 236 was yet to be paid after taking into account Rs 30,000 and the loan obtained from OPs 2 & 3.

In view of the above, the complainant had filed a consumer complaint alleging deficiency in service due to non-delivery of the original documents.

District Forum had accepted the complaint and directed OP 1 to send the original documents to the complainant. On appeal, State Commission also agreed with the District Forum and dismissed the appeal.

Petitioners Counsel submitted that an Ikararnama (agreement) was signed wherein complainant undertook to pay the balance amount later after taking delivery of the vehicle. On the said understanding, the vehicle was delivered to the complainant while the original documents such as registration, insurance were kept with OP 1. The case of OP-1 was that instead of paying the said amount and taking the original papers, the complainant filed a consumer complaint.

Hence, after allowing the above-stated complaint and appeal, the instant revision petition was filed.

Analysis and Decision

On considering the facts and circumstances of the instant case, the Commission stated that the revision petition cannot be sustained.

The vehicle was sold to the complainant, with the help of loan provided by OPs 2 & 3. The disputed point as per OP 1 was whether the complainant had paid the full amount to OP 1 or note. The related issue was whether the complainant was correct in alleging deficiency in service because OP 1 had retained the original documents after handing over the delivery of the car to him.

State Commission held that:

Once the vehicle has been delivered to the respondent 1, the appellant dealer cannot withhold the said documents on the plea of some dues still remaining to be paid. The delivery of the vehicle itself could have been delayed for that reason. Besides, since the purchase was financed by respondent 2 and 3, we see no reason how any amount could have been left unpaid and the appellant could still have delivered the vehicle in question to the respondent-complainant.

In the Commission’s opinion, the State Commission’s order had no material infirmity. Further, it was stated that if OP 1 had sold the vehicle and accepted the arrangement implicit in the Ikararnama, it had to bear the consequences.

“…as a responsible dealer, OP 1 could not have delivered the vehicle without the original documents. Such a delivery was illegal.”

No vehicle can legally ply without the above-stated documents.

Commission held that the factum of delivery without documents was illegal per se and certainly a deficiency in service. It is not important nor relevant as to what informal arrangement existed between OP 1 and the complainant. Whatever may have been the arrangement, it cannot justify the action of OP 1.

In view of the above discussion, the revision petition was dismissed. [Fauzdar Motors v. Lok Nath Kushwaha, 2020 SCC OnLine NCDRC 492, decided on 01-12-2020]


Advocates who appeared before the Commission:

For the Petitioner: Sanjay Sehgal, Advocate

For the Respondent:

For the Respondent 1: Nemo
For the Respondents 2 & 3: Ritu Raj, Advocate