NCDRC Overturns State Commission's Order, Rules in Favor of Honda in Airbag Deployment Case

NCDRC overturns State Commission's order, rules in favor of Honda, citing lack of evidence for airbag deployment without seatbelt.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently made a decision regarding a case involving Honda and a customer, Ushat Gulgule. The State Commission had ordered Honda to pay ₹1 lakh as compensation to Ushat Gulgule due to non-deployment of airbags after an accident involving a Honda car.

However, the NCDRC, consisting of Presiding Member Subhash Chandra and Member Sadhna Shanker, overturned this order. They found that the airbags didn't deploy because the seat belts weren't fastened during the accident. They highlighted that airbags in cars only work when seat belts are buckled.

The NCDRC emphasized that the argument presented by the complainant, which suggested airbags could deploy without seat belts being fastened, lacked evidence. They stated, "The issue of seat belt not being required to be buckled has not been supported by any evidence."

The complainant had bought a Honda Civic from a dealership in Pune and got into an accident in 2013 on the Western Express Highway. He suffered injuries to his left arm and shoulder, resulting in medical expenses of ₹40,000.

Honda argued that the airbags didn't deploy because the seatbelt wasn't fastened, which is a condition for their deployment. They also highlighted that the car had been repaired to the complainant's satisfaction.

The State Commission ruled in favor of the complainant, stating that there was no expert opinion supporting Honda's claims about the conditions for airbag deployment. Therefore, they concluded that Honda should compensate the complainant.

However, the NCDRC disagreed with this decision. They noted that there was no expert report obtained by the State Commission to establish inherent defects in the car. They also stated that relying on newspaper reports wasn't sufficient to prove that the complainant's car belonged to a defective batch.

Furthermore, the NCDRC emphasized that the complainant failed to prove that the seatbelt didn't need to be engaged for airbag activation. They stated, "the finding of the State Commission was not based on any finding of fact or legal precedent."

As a result, the NCDRC allowed Honda's appeal and set aside the State Commission's order. Honda was represented by advocates Amol Chitale, Shweta Singh Parihar Sarthak Sharma, and Priya S Bhalerao, while the complainant was represented by advocate Sachin Saini.