Please see the judgement1. This order shall dispose of two appeals arising out of one common order passed in appeal Nos. 827 and 828/2000 passed by the Rajasthan State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Rajasthan, while allowing the appeal of Area Manager, Rungta Irrigation Ltd. and dismissing the complaints of Om Prakash and Mal Singh.
2. Insofar as the case in revision filed on behalf of Mal Singh is concerned, he has expired and his LRs have not been brought on record. As such the appeal of Mal Singh has abated, and stood disposed of accordingly.
3. Insofar as the appeal of Om Prakash, complainant is concerned, the fact giving an occasion to file this appeal are mentioned herein-below:
4. The complainant/appellant Om Prakash had purchased land drip irrigation systems from the opposite parties /respondents in revision petition to irrigate the plantation in their groves. According to the complainant, the system turned out to be defective in the face of 5 years' warranty inasmuch as the pipes, filters and other machineries were of inferior quality and cracks appeared in the pipes.
5. The opposite parties/respondents despite repeated requests neither repaired the systemnor replaced the same with another one. Ultimately, complaint was filed.
6. The opposite parties/respondents herein contested the matter before the District Forum, inter alia, on the ground that as and when any trouble or defect was reported by the complainants, the opposite parties/ respondents removed such defects to their satisfaction.
7. The District Forum partly accepted their complaint and directed the opposite parties to replace the pipe and other defective parts of the system and also to pay compensation of Rs. 30,000 on account of damage to the plants and Rs. 1,000 as cost of litigation and further directed that in case of non-payment of the said amount the complainant would be entitled to get 12% interest thereon.
8. Feeling aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, an appeal was filed before the State Commission.
9. The State Commission took the view that the irrigation systems were purchased by the respondent for 'commercial purposes' and, as such, their complaints were not maintainable by the Forum for the reason that the complainants had not hired any service to be rendered by the opposite parties/respondents and further on the ground that whenever any problem or defect arose in the functioning of the Land Irrigation System was pointed by the complainants to the opposite parties/ respondents, the opposite parties/respondents timely attended to and the defects were removed to the satisfaction of the opposite parties/ respondents. The order passed by the District Forum was quashed and set aside and appeals were allowed.
10. Having heard the learned Counsel for the parties, one has to take into consideration two facets of the transaction to sell the Land Drip Irrigation System. One related to the sale of the defective land drip irrigation system and another related to the services hired by the complainant - Om Prakash in relation to warranty. Since the definition of 'commercial purpose' under Section 2(1)(d) of Consumer Protection Act, the limitation of 'commercial purpose' was not attached to the services to be rendered by a seller in terms of the warranty given at the relevant time, the plea could not be accepted in respect of services hired in terms of warranty during warranty period. The limitation of 'commercial purpose' was inserted w.e.f. 15th March, 2003. Consequently, the complaint could not be dismissed as submitted by the learned Counsel for the opposite parties/ respondents on this ground. The drip irrigation system was installed on 5th December, 1996. It was not disputed that warranty was given for a period of 5 years. According to the case of Om Prakash, if during the warranty period drip irrigation system breaks or is torn, that should be replaced with a new drip irrigation system or its price should be returned with interest. The warranty letter quoted by the petitioner reads as under:
We herein give the warranty against the manufacturing defects for a period of 5 years. We promised to repair or replace any part found to have manufacturing defect during the warranty period of 3 years from the date of installation.
11. The system was installed on 5th December, 1996. Various letters were posted by the complainant to the respondent such as, 10.11.1997, 1.6.1998, 18.5.1998, etc. Besides, Assistant Director (Horticulture), Govt. of Rajasthan, Sikar (Rajasthan) wrote a letter dated 4.5.1999. Complaint was filed in the year 1999 vide Complaint No. 461 of 1999 before the District Forum.
Whether the period of warranty is taken 3 years or 5 years, the complaint was filed within the period of warranty for non-removal of the defects despite notice dated 22.5.1999. It is not possible to accept that there was no defect. The petitioner had not purchased the system for headache and for sending it now and then for repairs. Besides, in the present case, Assistant Director (Horticulture), Govt. of Rajasthan, Sikar (Rajasthan) wrote a letter dated 4.5.1999.
12. In addition to the above, there are two inspection reports dated 28.11.2002 and 28.12.2002 which read as under:
Today dated 28.11.2002 inspection carried out on 5 Hecter Field of Shri Om Prakash son of Shri Magharama Sharma village Nuhand, Tehsil Rajgarh, Distt. Churu. Shri Om Prakash Sharma was not available on the site. The inspection was carried out along with his younger brother Shri Radhey Shyam Sharma who was present on the site along with (the undersigned from the company side and the findings are as follows:
1. Dripper has clogged due to silt coming from the filter along with water.
2. Lateral line which was damaged at various points by rat and squirrel has been disconnected and kept aside The whole lateral line will have to be changed
3. Extension Tubes have also been cut at various places by rats and squirrel and the same along with the dripper have been disconnected and kept aside.
4. The PVC pipe is torn due to line been clogged by silt.
5. Since the screen of the filter is clogged the filter is also clogged and is not functioning.
6. Since the whole lateral line and the Extension tube have been removed from the fields the same will have to be relaid by digging. Sd/- Sd/- (A.K. Kaushik) (Radhey Shyam Sharma) Signature Signature (J.S. Rawat) (Upendra Kumar)
14. He sent a letter to the Marketing Manager, Rungta Irrigation Ltd., Sikar (Rajasthan) which is as under:
As directed by you visited Nauhand and Viran on 11.12.2002 to 12.12.2002 and the Site Depot.
1. Om Prakash Sharma, S/p Magha Ram, Vill. Nauhand dated 11.12.2002.
Today, visited the above named farmers for site verification. Drip Set installed on 5 Nos. and the condition of the set is as under:
12mm lateral line of the entire set has been dug out and kept aside. The same has also been damaged from various places by squirrels/rats 6500 mtrs.
2. 6mm extension tube measuring 3000 mtrs of the whole set has also been removed and has been destroyed by rats and squirrels.
3. Micro Flapper Dripper which was fixed when set was installed was not found on site inspection. Now 8 L.P.H. Dripper-costing Rs. 3500 (Rupees three thousand five hundred) to be fixed.
4. Under noted were also found broken--
(a) 20mm G.M. Gale Ball 2 Nos.
(b) 63mm PVC Ball Valve 4 Nos.
(c) 63mm PVC.Flesh-Valve 4 Nos.
(d) 12mm GTO 150 Nos.
(e) 12mm End Cap 150 Nos.
(f) Pin Connector 3500 Nos.
After the installation of the above mentioned items the drip shall become operational. To fix the lateral line to the above mentioned materials earthwork (digging) will have to be carried out which will cost approximately Rs. 15,000 on account of labour charges.
2. Mal Singh S/o Roop Singh, Vill Viran On inspecting the Drip Set which is installed in the field it was found that the installation was performed on 2.75 Hecter. The entire Drip Set has been dug out and kept aside and to make it operational the under mentioned items will be necessary.
1. 12mm lateral line cut by rats and squirrels approximately 4200 mtrs. required.
2. 6mm extension also cut by rats and squirrels approximately 1800 mtrs. required.
3. Most of the Micro Flapper which was fixed when the set was installed have not been found during the site inspection. Approximately 2000 pieces of 8 P H Dripper will be required.
4. 63mm x 6 mtrs. PVC pipes have been broken on various places. Approximately 5 more pipes will be required to rectify the same.
5. 27 M3 Screen Filter have been destroyed due to excessive salt in the water. The same will have to be replaced by new one.
Now under noted items will have to be provided.
(a) 50mm G M Gate Ball 2 Nos.
(b) 20mm G M Gate Ball 2 Nos.
(c) 63mm PVC Ball Valve 2 Nos.
(d) 63mm PVC Flash Valve 2 Nos.
(e) 12mm G.T.O 100 Nos.
(f) 12mm End Cap 100 Nos.
To get the above material connected to lateral line Rs. 8,000 approximately will have to be spent on account of labour for digging and laying. The above materials when fixed will make the system fully operational.
15. The other report which was given and signed by Mr. A.K. Kaushik, Area Manager is as under:
Today 23rd of October, 2003 inspection of Drip Irrigation System has been made on the spot at the land of Shri Om Prakash S/o Sh. Megha Ram Sharma, Village NUHAND. Teh. Rajgarh, Distt. CHURU, Rajasthan and report of the same is as under:
1. Lateral pipe became thin at various places, appears as manufacturing defect.
2. Drip set is completely off. Started in front of me but not worked.
3. Service line is leaky, broken due to water pressure and not usable.
4. Pressure gauge is not working.
5. Company's technical person not came today.
6. Visited to inspect by order of Company No order to start the system.
Sd/- Sd/- Sarpanch Om Prakash Gram Panchayat
Sd/- Sd/- A.K. KAUSHIK Abeeo Area Manager PS Rajgarh
Ward No. 20
16. On 10th December, 2002, certain directions were issued. The respondent did not comply with those directions. Further time was granted on 22.1.2003. Time was further extended to comply with the directions dated 16.9 2003. It was disputed that he had to prepare report under coercion and threat of 50 persons who were present there about being manufacturing defect. But, if we see the order dated 10.12.2002, the complainant was directed to remain present at the site and point out the flaws in the system; those would be cured by the respondent and report thereof would be submitted within four weeks from today A person who is contesting the matter who knows the entire history of the case and mentioning his report that he visited to inspect by order of the Company there was no order to start the system could not say that there was no order to restart the system. Narration of this fact and subsequent affidavit in this regard would indicate only one thing that the respondents were not at all interested in removing the defects subject to the final outcome of the revision.
17. For the aforesaid reasons, the impugned order passed by the State Commission cannot be sustained and it is accordingly required to be set aside.
18. In the aforesaid circumstances, we accept the version of the complainant/petitioner and seeing that tack of appropriate steps during warranty period and need of intermittent repairs and removal of defects, we direct the respondent to pay Rs 1,14,200, the price of the land drip irrigation system along with interest @ 9% percent within a period of six weeks from today. Accepting the assessment of the District Forum in respect of other losses in preponderance of evidence, we further direct the respondent to pay a sum of Rs. 30,000 as compensation with cost of Rs. 1,000 as imposed by the District Forum.
19. For the aforesaid reasons, the impugned order passed by the State Commission cannot be sustained and accordingly it is required to be set aside. The revision petition is allowed in above terms. There shall be no order as to costs.