Decided on January 30,2010

Maruthi Countrywide Auto Financial Service Ltd Appellant
Ravindranathan Kailas,Vedipura Line,Collectorate P O,Kottayam Respondents


- (1.) THE appellants are the opposite parties in OP No. 233/03 in the file of CDRF, Kottayam. The appellant is under orders to return the vehicle seized and allegedly sold by the opposite party on payment of the dues and also to pay a compensation of Rs. 10,000/ - and costs of Rs. 1,000/ -.
(2.) THE case of the complainant is that he availed a loan from the opposite parties for the purchase of a Maruti 800 DLX Car. The amount of the loan was to be paid in 59 months with EMI of Rs. 5,059/ - starting from 07 -10 -1999. Post -dated cheques were collected by the opposite parties. One of the cheques dated 07 -09 -2002 was dishonoured. Against the above cheque the petitioner paid Rs. 5,557/ - including cheque return charge of Rs. 500/ -. He was paying the instalments regularly. The last payment was the 45th instalment on 28 -06 -2003. In the 3rd week of July 2003, an agent of the second opposite party approached the petitioner and sought for payment of 46th instalment in cash. Then the petitioner insisted for the cheques which were bounced till that time. He refused to do so. On 29 -07 -2003 while the petitioner was traveling in the car, it was taken away forcibly. A notice was issued to the complainant informing that the vehicle will be sold if the total dues are not paid within 7 days. The amount due was not stated nor was any statement of accounts furnished. The vehicle was worth more than Rs. 1,50,000/ -. At the time there was only one instalment of July 2003 due. The complainant was humiliated. He has sought for return of the car and compensation of Rs. 10,000/ -.
(3.) THE opposite party has filed version disputing the maintainability of the complaint. It is contended that the opposite party is the owner of the car and that the amount was advanced as per hire purchase agreement dated 23 -08 -1999. As per the terms of the agreement, the opposite parties allowed the complainant to have the vehicle registered in his name for the limited purpose of the M.V. Act. The hiring period was 59 months from 07 -10 -1999 to 07 -08 -2004. The total hire amount was Rs. 2,00,000/ - and the equated monthly hire charges was Rs. 5,057/ -. The complainant had issued 59 post -dated cheques for the above amount. Out of the 47 cheques presented 13 were dishonoured. It is alleged that the complainant was a chronic defaulter. The complainant later paid the amount of 7 dishonoured cheques. The complainant being unable to clear the arrears has surrendered the vehicle on 29 -07 -2003 as per surrender letter of the above date. A pre sale notice dated 30 -07 -2003 demanding the payment in 7 days was sent. Subsequently the opposite parties have sent a lawyer notice, as the complainant did not surrender the original vehicle documents. On 12 -08 -2003 the vehicle was sold to Mr. Taiju, M/s A to Z Car Centre, Bypass Road, Geethanjali Junction, Ernakulam for Rs. 1,00,000/ -. The opposite parties could get only the above amount as the original documents were not returned by the complainant. The allegation of taking forcible possession of the vehicle etc. is denied. The complainant is also liable to pay at the rate of Rs. 500/ - per instalment towards late payment fee and also liable for penal charges at the rate of 2.5% per month. The order of the Forum dated 21 -08 -2003 in IA 380/03 restraining the opposite party from selling the car was obtained suppressing the fact that the vehicle was surrendered and that the same was sold on 12 -08 -2003. The evidence adduced consisted of the proof affidavits of the complainant and the opposite parties and Exts. A1 to A10 and B1 to B7 series.;

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