Consumer forum pulls up industrial corporation

CHENNAI, JULY 24. A city consumer forum has strongly criticised the Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC) for auctioning a tanker lorry without a registration certificate (RC). The TIIC auctioned the vehicle without establishing the ownership and failed to transfer the RC for nearly six months without valid reason.

``They seem to have auctioned a `no-man's vehicle' and not bothered to be alert even after put on notice of deficiency in service,'' the president, District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North), K. Ramaswamy, and the member, V.M. Thandapani, said while directing the TIIC to pay Rs. 10,000 as compensation and costs of Rs. 1,000 to a person for deficiency in service.

V. Ekambaram of Melapudur, Tiruchi, petitioned the forum that he was the successful bidder of a tanker lorry auctioned by the TIIC in January 1999. With great difficulty, he raised funds and even after payment of about Rs. 3.67 lakhs, the vehicle was not delivered. He paid the penal interest; but the vehicle was delivered only after two months. As there was no RC in his name and also no insurance certificate, he could not operate the lorry.

No duplicate

On TIIC's advice, he approached the transport authorities who levied overload fees and road tax arrears. But no RC or its duplicate was issued. As the necessary certificates were not given, he surrendered the vehicle and got back Rs. 4.16 lakhs, but without interest.

The Managing Director and Branch Manager, TIIC, Whites Road, said the Corporation had made all efforts to request the Transport department authorities to issue the duplicate RC.

The Regional Transport Officer, Chennai North-West, the third opposite party, submitted that the tax and compounding fee were collected as per the Motor Vehicles Act. Without transferring the RC, the Corporation auctioned the vehicle. The transport authorities did not give any assurance that a duplicate RC would be issued.

In its order, the forum said the complainant did not file any evidence to establish there was some relationship between him and the RTO regarding the issue of duplicate RC, and dismissed the complaint against the RTO.

`Big expenditure'

The forum contended that the delay in issuing the RC and other documents forced the complainant to incur a big expenditure. Though the Corporation had written to the RTO for issuing a duplicate RC, it had not followed up the matter, the forum added.

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