SC backs USA’s GM, sets aside consumer panel’s damage payment order

The Supreme Court has set aside National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order directing multinational automobile firm General Motors to pay punitive damages of Rs 25 lakh for selling Chevrolet Forester car to consumers by claiming it to be an SUV.

The apex court held that although the company had resorted to unfair trade practice it is not enough for imposing award for damages unless causing of loss is established.

A bench of justices V Gopala Gowda and A K Goel, however, upheld the commission order directing the company to refund the money and get back the vehicle from one of its 260 odd buyers of the car who had filed the case against it.

‘The National Commission has gone much beyond its jurisdiction in awarding the relief which was neither sought in the complaint nor before the State Commission. We are thus, of the view that to this extent(regarding puniive damages) the order of the NC cannot be sustained,’ the bench said.

It said, ‘We also make it clear that this order will not stand in the way of any aggrieved party raising a claim before an appropriate forum in accordance with law’. ‘The concurrent finding recorded by the District Forum, the State Commission and the NC to the effect that unfair trade practice was committed by the appellant which is based on adequate material on record, does not call for any interference by this court and the same is affirmed,’ it said.


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