Oral Order : (R. Lakshminarasimha Rao , Member)
1. The opposite party is the appellant. The appeal is directed against the order dated 10.07.2013 passed by the District Forum II, Krishna District at Vijayawada in C.C.No.35 of 2013.
2. The respondent purchased an Auto Rickshaw for a sum of Rs.1,63,520/- from M/s. Varun Motors, Tiruvuru and paid Rs.53,520/- under Ex. A1 to A4 and the remaining amount of Rs.1,10,000/- was availed on loan from the first appellant. The respondent has to pay the loan amount of Rs.1,10,000/- in 29 monthly instalments @ Rs.5,450/- for 20 months and Rs.5,250/- for 9 months commencing from October, 2010 till 31.3.2013. The respondent paid the installments regularly up to April, 2012 and failed to pay three instalments due to financial crises, as a result of which, the 1st appellant seized the vehicle on 09.10.2012 without any prior intimation or notice. After negotiations, the respondent paid Rs.18,000/- appellant No. 1 which issued vehicle release order on 23.10.2012 to M/s. Venkat Stock yard. He observed that the parts of the vehicle were exchanged with used parts and the engine number and chassis number were not tallied and M/s. Venkat Stock Yard refused to deliver the vehicle to him. Despite many requests and notice, the vehicle was not handed over to him and hence he filed the complaint seeking direction to the appellants to return the vehicle in the same good working condition, for compensation and costs.
3. Notices were served on both the appellants. The first appellant had not filed written version and the second appellant chosen to be proceeded exparte.
4. The respondent filed his vakalat and got marked Ex. A1 to A-11. No affidavits or documents are filed on behalf of the appellants.
5. The District Forum allowed the complaint and directed the appellants/opposite parties to pay Rs.95,000/- with interest @ 9% pa from the date of filing of the complaint, i.e., 7.3.2013 till realization and to pay Rs.2,000/- towards costs.
6. Aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the opposite parties filed the appeal contending that the order of the District Forum is contrary to law and principles of natural justice and the quantum of damages awarded is not as per the norms.
7. The point for consideration is whether the order of the District Forum suffers from misappreciation of facts or law?
8. The respondent purchased Auto Rickshaw on 30.09.2010 and he paid a sum of Rs.53,520/- Receipts Ex. A1 to A4 issuedby M/s. Arun Motors establish payment of Rs.53,520/- on different dates, viz. 30.09.2010 and 21.10.2010. He availed loan a sum of Rs.1,10,000/- from the first appellant. The loan was repayable in monthly installments @ Rs.5,450/- for 20 months and Rs.5,250/- for 9 months commencing from October, 2010 till 31.3.2013. The respondent paid the loan instalments till the month of April, 2012 and he stated that due to financial crises he could not pay the three instalments and convincing the appellants he paid a sum of Rs. 18,000/- on 23.10.2012.
9. The appellants repossessed the vehicle on 09.10.2012. The appellants had not disputed the amount received from the respondent. The appellants after receiving the amount of Rs.18,000/- from the respondent issued release order to M/s. Venkat Stock yard, Patamata, Vijayawada which seized the vehicle and refused to deliver the vehicle to the respondent as the engine and chassis numbers of the vehicle had not tallied with those mentioned in the registration certificate and the release order. The respondent informed the first appellant of the discrepancy in the engine number and chassis number of the vehicle and as there was no response thereto, he got issued notice dated 26.01.2013 demanding for release of the vehicle and para (6) of notice reads as under :
œour client states that accordingly, he approached M/s. Venkat Stock-yard, Patamata, Vijayawada, who is authorized stock yard to No. 1 of you and verified the vehicle, surprisingly, our client observed at the Auto Rickshaw belongs to him was not in a similar condition of its seizure and it was found by the representatives of M/s. Venkat Stock yard that the Engine number ad the chassis number are also not tallied with the vehicle and further it was observed that the battery, the tyres, signal lights and seats were exchanged with old one and it appears that the representatives of No. 1 of you committed an act of removal of the original parts and implants with old one and as such the representatives of M/s. Venkat Stock yard refused to deliver the vehicle, prima facie the engine number and chassis number were not tallied with the vehicle as per the R. C Book and release order, for which our client approached No. 1 of you and complained about the fact of the exchange of engine and other parts of the vehicle and since then he regularly approached it no. 1 of you for reurn of the vehicle bearing No. A P 16 TC 4076, its as it is condition, at the time of the seizure, dt. 9.10.2012 œ.
10. The appellant had not given response to the notice and they had not denied the discrepancy in engine number and chassis number of the vehicle with those mentioned in the registration certificate of the vehicle. The appellants have to return the vehicle in the same condition as it was when repossessed. Leave alone the condition of the vehicle, the engine of the vehicle has been replaced with another engine without any intimation to the respondent and without assigning reasons therefor. Thus, the deficiency in service on the part of the appellants in the matter of their failure to return the same vehicle to the respondent is manifestly seen and established.
11. The learned Counsel for the respondent has submitted that the appellants replaced the engine of the vehicle and failed to give reply as to the query of the respondent as to why they had replaced the engine of the vehicle . He has submitted that plying of the vehicle with replaced engine without endorsement of the same from the RTA concerned would be an offence under the provisions of IPC and Motor Vehicles Act and as such the respondent could not ply the vehicle.
12. The District Forum awarded an amount of Rs.95,000/- towards the value of the Auto Rickshaw on the premise that the vehicle was two years old by the date of its seizure and the respondent failed to pay the balance loan instalments subsequent to 23.10.2012. the District Forum has assessed the depreciation value of the vehicle at 15% P.A. which comes to Rs.45,377/- and deducting the amount from the cost of the vehicle Rs.1,63,520/-and the sum of Rs.23,164/- towards the amount due from the respondent, balance amount payable by the appellants has been arrived at Rs.94,979/-. We do not find any irregularity in assessing the depreciation value or deducting the amount due from the assessed value of the vehicle. As such the order of the District Forum does not warrant our interference in the appeal.
13. In the result, the appeal is dismissed confirming the order of the District Forum. There shall be no order as to costs in the Appeal. Time for compliance four weeks.