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Consumer’s complaint: Tata Motors’ MD gets jail
Saurabh Malik/TNS

An advocate purchased a Nano car that developed snag. Fault could not be rectified despite repeated visits to the car agency
He moved the Chandigarh State Consumer Redressal Commission. Manufacturer and seller told to repair the car and pay compensation
As the manufacturer and seller did not comply with the directions, the advocate filed an ‘execution petition’ before the commission
The commission then sentenced Tata Motors MD Karl Slym to simple imprisonment for six months besides imposing a fine of Rs 10,000

Chandigarh, May 2
The Nano management, Tata Motors Limited, is in trouble. The Chandigarh State Consumer Redressal Commission has refused to show leniency towards Tata Motors Limited; and has sentenced its managing director Karl Slym to simple imprisonment for six months. It has also directed him to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 for “contumacious defiance” of a previous order and other related issues.

Managing director of the Chandigarh-based Hind Motors Limited Ashish Mohan Gupta has also been awarded the same sentence. The sentence came around eight months after the commission ordered the payment of Rs 30,000 compensation to Punjab and Haryana High Court’s senior advocate Manmohan Lal Sarin for “physical harassment and mental agony”. The court ruled the Tata Nano car sold to Sarin was “suffering from multiple defects”.

The case

Tata Nano’s image suffered a dent on July 6 last year, after the commission directed Tata Motors Limited to replace defective parts and repair the car sold to Sarin, besides paying compensation to him.

Comprising President Justice Sham Sunder and member Neena Sandhu, the commission also directed the company to extend the warranty of the car by a year after it had been repaired and made roadworthy.

The commission said it was evident that the complainant had to take the vehicle repeatedly to the agency for repairs. But, the engineers, despite their best efforts, could not rectify the fault.

“The complainant suffered physical harassment and mental agony on account of non-use of the car due to the acts of omission and commission by the opposite parties. He is, thus, entitled to compensation….”


Alleging wilful disobedience of the orders, Sarin moved the commission again by filing an “execution petition”. It was stated that the complainant had not received any intimation from the opposite parties that the commission’s directions had been complied with. The complainant was not even informed that the vehicle had been repaired to his satisfaction under the supervision of experts’ panel.

It was further contended that the opposite parties, in order to harass the complainant, dispatched a cheque after the expiry of its validity period of three months.

Tata’s stand

The opposite parties claimed the vehicle was made roadworthy after it was repaired under the supervision of a panel of experts. It was added that the complainant did not come forward to take the vehicle’s delivery, despite issuance of letters.

During the pendency of the petition, counsel for the complainant Alka Sarin contended that the question of taking possession of the vehicle did not arise as the repairs were not carried out by the manufacturer, as ordered. She also refused to accept a fresh demand draft handed over by the opposite parties on the ground that the earlier cheque was sent after the expiry of the validity period.

The verdict

The commission ruled: “It seems that the grouse of the counsel for the complainant was genuine and she rightly refused to accept the cheque…. Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of case, unending travails and miseries of the complainant, contumacious defiance of the order dated July 6, 2012, with impunity by the opposite parties and considering the fact that the faith of the consumers is not shattered in the consumer fora set up for speedy redressal of grievances, the opposite parties do not deserve any leniency, in the matter of imposition of sentence.”





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