NCDRC Sets Aside Compensation Order Against Honda for Non-Airbag Deployment


The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has overturned a State Commission's directive for Honda to pay ₹1 lakh in compensation for alleged non-deployment of airbags following an accident. The decision, rendered in the case of *Honda Cars India Ltd v Ushat Gulgule*, underscores the importance of factual evidence and expert opinion in determining liability in consumer disputes.

Presiding Member Subhash Chandra and Member Sadhna Shanker of the NCDRC ruled that the State Commission's order lacked sufficient evidence to establish a manufacturing defect in the Honda Civic, as claimed by the complainant. The NCDRC highlighted that airbags deploy only when specific conditions are met, including the fastening of seat belts, a crucial aspect overlooked in the present case.

The complainant, who sustained injuries in the accident, sought compensation from Honda, alleging that the airbags failed to deploy. However, Honda countered that the airbags operate under specific conditions and pointed out that the complainant had not fastened the seatbelt at the time of the accident.

The State Commission's decision in favor of the complainant was based on unsubstantiated claims and lacked expert opinion to support the finding of a manufacturing defect. The NCDRC emphasized that to establish inherent defects, expert technical analysis is imperative, a requirement not fulfilled in this instance.

Furthermore, the reliance on newspaper reports and generalized statements about airbag recalls by Honda did not establish a direct link to the complainant's specific case. The NCDRC observed that such evidence was insufficient to attribute liability to Honda without concrete proof of a manufacturing defect in the complainant's vehicle.

In its ruling, the NCDRC underscored the importance of adhering to legal precedents and factual findings in consumer disputes. The decision reaffirms the principle that allegations of product defects must be substantiated by expert opinions and technical analysis.

Honda, represented by advocates Amol Chitale, Shweta Singh Parihar, Sarthak Sharma, and Priya S Bhalerao, successfully appealed against the State Commission's order.

On the other hand, the complainant, represented by advocate Sachin Saini, failed to provide compelling evidence to support the claim of a manufacturing defect in the Honda Civic.

Author: Anushka Taraniya 

News Writer, MIT ADT University