By Jatin Ramaiya
Bangalore resident, Ravi Manira, approached the Goa State Consumer Redressal Commission, Panaji, claiming compensation of Rs 95 lakh from Auto Industries Goa, Tata Motors Ltd and Fiat Group Automobile India. Manira said that he had purchased a car Fiat Linea manufactured byFiat Group Automobile India with loan from HDFC Bank, Hubli branch, Manira alleged that his car met with an accident on July 1 2012, on the national highway no.4, near Timmapur, Tadas while he was travelling from Bangalore to Belgaum. Manira stated that he had informed his insurer, and filed his claim on 10 August 2012 and the insurer appointed Basroor Surveyors to carry out the inspection and tentatively compute the loss. The said Basroor Surveyors inspected his car and by letter dated March 1 2013 informed about the repairs to be carried out including the replacement of body shell assembly with airbags.
Manira said that the accident took place because of failure of ABS and airbags which did not open on collision resulting in him sustaining serious injuries to his body. The accident made his right hand dysfunctional and consequently resulted in loss to his business. It was further stated by Manira that he was travelling at a reasonable speed, however, due to heavy rains the car was skidding, and when he applied brakes the car tyre burst. After that the car hit a sign board and toppled to land head on in the nearby fields just a few meters away from service road.
However, the Auto Industries Goa, Tata Motors Ltd and Fiat Group contested the claims. Adv. J Costa who represented Fiat Group argued that the cars are manufactured in Pune, and head office of Fiat Group is at Mumbai. Therefore it was incumbent upon Manira to have obtained permission from Goa State Commission as required under Section 17 (2) (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and therefore the complaint was not maintainable.
However though the commission found prima facie in the said contention it decided to dispose of the complaint filed by Manira on merits rather than on technicalities.
Upon perusing the records and hearing the parties Justice NA Britto of State Commission whilst dismissing the complaint observed that case of the complainant is based only on his self-serving statements which may not be taken as gospel truth without corroboration. The complainant has not produced any technical report to support the case pleaded by him.