Case nº First Appeal No. 721 of 2003, First Appeal No.726 of 2003 of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, May 12, 2009 (case 1. Bull Machines Private Limited, Marketing Manager, Tamil Nadu, 2. New Holland Tractor India Private Limited, New Delhi Vs 1. Mohanlal Patidar, Madhya Pradesh, 2. Proprietor, New Holland Tractor, Madhya Pradesh, 3. Senior Manager (Service), New Holland Tractors Private Limited, New Delhi, 4. Marketing Manager, Bull Machine Private Limited, Tamil Nadu, 5. Proprietor, Shiv Om Tractors, Madhya Pradesh)

JudgeAstha Tyagi, Shuchi, Singh, S. Naidu Kumar, Parivesh Singh, Bharati Arora, Vikas Pai
PresidentR. C. Jain (Presiding Member) & Anupam Das Gupta (Member)
Resolution DateMay 12, 2009


Anupam Dasgupta (Member), (New Delhi)

  1. These two appeals have been filed by the original opposite parties (OPs) 1 and 3 respectively against the order dated 13.08.2003 of the Madhya Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereafter, 'the State Commission') in complaint case no 73/2001. By this order, the State Commission directed OP 1 (Bull Machine Private Limited - appellant in F.A. no. 721 of 2003) to refund to the complainant (respondent no. 1 in both the appeals) the cost Rs. 4, 40, 220/- of the tractor-operated back-hoe and dozer supplied through its authorised dealer (OP 2 in the complaint before the State Commission) along with interest @ 12% per annum from the date of filing the complaint until payment. On the same lines, the State Commission directed OP 3 (New Holland Tractor India Private Limited) to refund to the complainant the cost of Rs. 6, 10, 850/- of the Ford 5630 tractor manufactured and supplied by OP 3 through OP 2, also authorised dealer of the said tractors, to the complainant with similar terms of interest. There was no order against OP 2, the common authorised dealer of both OP 1 and 3. For the sake of convenience, we refer hereafter to the parties according to their position before the State Commission.

  2. The undisputed facts are that the complainant bought a Ford 5630 tractor of 70 HP manufactured and distributed by OP 3, through OP 2, at the cost of Rs. 6, 10, 850/-. The tractor was delivered to the complainant on 15.12.2000. He simultaneously bought the back-hoe and dozer (hereafter, 'the BHD') manufactured and distributed by OP 1, once again through OP 2, for Rs. 4, 40, 220/-. The BHD was delivered to the complainant a few days after the tractor. OP 2 informed the complainant that in addition to price paid as per the invoice the latter had to bear the cost of transportation of the BHD because, by an inadvertent error the invoice did not include that cost. The complainant took a loan from the Bank of India (BoI) for these purchases. The loan remained unpaid and the BoI consequently repossessed the tractor as well as the BHD and obtained (2005) a decree form the competent Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for recovery of the entire outstanding loan and overdue interest along with interest pendente lite.

  3. The complainant's case before the State Commission was that OP 2 persuaded him, an agriculturist, to buy both the tractor and the BHD by explicitly and repeatedly representing that the said tractor and the BHD were fully compatible. The combination would make for a multipurpose machine capable of various agricultural and associated functions and thus enhance the returns from his investment. However, within 100 hours of operation with the BHD, the tractor developed several problems and could not be operated. There was leakage of oil from the trumpet housing of the tractor that, on complaint, was attended to by a mechanic of OP 2 but the problem continued. Even after subsequent repairs at the service centre of OP 2, the combination could work only for three hours. It became clear (and was admitted by OP 2) that the tractor was unable to take the load of the BHD. Despite promise to replace the tractor and the BHD within 15 days, the OP 2 did not do so. This led to loss of income @ Rs. 1000/- per day to the complainant. When pressed, after quite some time the OP 2 gave a standby set of tractor and BHD to the complainant to use for 2 months, assuring to have the machines replaced within that period. This was also not done. The complainant took up the matter with OP 1 directly but did not receive a satisfactory reply, as OP 1 contended that there was no manufacturing defect in the BHD and the defect appeared to be in the tractor housing. As a result, the complainant served a legal notice on the OPs and followed it up with a complaint before the State Commission. Apart from manufacturing defects in both the tractor and the BHD, he alleged unfair trade practices on the part of the OPs and sought refund of the price of the tractor and the BHD as well as compensation on various counts, amounting to Rs. 10.50 lakh, along with interest @ 2% per month on that amount. The complaint was contested by all the OPs on an array of grounds. As these grounds have been more or less repeated in their appeals, we take them up for discussion later. After considering the pleadings of the parties and the evidence brought on record (particularly the evidence affidavit of an insurance surveyor with mechanical engineering qualifications, produced by the complainant), the State Commission held the OPs 1 and 2 guilty on both the allegations and passed the order summarised above.

  4. During the proceedings before this Commission, the BoI sought and was granted permission to intervene with the prayer that if any award was passed in favour of the complainant, the amount should not be released to him as he owed a large sum to the BoI. Considerable...

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