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A rehabilitation services company, which provides artificial limbs to amputees, has been directed by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 4.46 lakh to a handicapped man for selling him a defective electric hand.

The South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held the Indian office of UK-based Endolite, an artificial limbs maker, guilty of deficiency in service for not examining the defects in the electric hand left with the company for repairs and instead selling its parts after dismantling it.

“It is apparent the hand fitted by the opposite party (Endolite India) did not work properly and required repair twice. Complainant was having no option except to hand over the defective limb to opposite party. It was duty bound to get the limb examined from the manufacturer as to whether there was a manufacturing defect or not. It failed to do so.

“Instead, it took the arbitrary and unilateral decision to dismantle the hand and resale the parts on depreciated cost. We find opposite party deficient in providing the service due to which complainant suffered physical and financial loss…

“The company is directed to pay Rs 3,91,000 (amount paid for the limb) to complainant.. It is also directed to pay him a sum of Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation,” the bench presided by Narendra Kumar said.

The forum’s order came on the plea of Rajasthan native Manish Purohit who had lost his right hand in an accident in 2003 and had decided to get a electric limb fitted by paying Rs 4.71 lakh.

The hand was fitted by Endolite in August 2004 after he had paid Rs 3.91 lakh with the remaining amount to be paid later, Purohit said and alleged that from day one, it was not working and had to be given for repairs twice and after the second time, the hand was not returned.

The company, in its defence, contended that Purohit did not take back the limb despite repeated requests from it and it had no option but to dismantle and sell it

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