Decided on October 16,2007

Visakha Enterprise Respondents


- (1.) MR . Justice R.K. Patra, President -The complainant -Visakha Enterprise is an authorised dealer of different products such as Hydrochloric Acid, Caustic Sodalyc and Flakes, Hydrated Lime, Brust Lime, Sulphuric Acid, Sodium Chloride, other acid and chemicals, etc. It availed loan from the Central Bank of India, Rourkela to run the above business under hypothecation. It also insured the aforesaid business with United India Insurance Company Limited. The policy was for the period from 25.7.2003 to 24.7.2004. On 25.10.2003 fire broke out in the business premises of the complainant as a result stock of various insured products came to be burnt. His claim lodged with the Insurance Company was not favourably considered. Finding no other alternative it filed complaint vide C.C. No. 123 of 2005 in the Sundargarh -II Rourkela District Forum. By order dated 19.8.2006 the District Forum directed the Insurance Company to pay to the complainant Rs. 9,50,000 towards the loss sustained due to fire together with compensation of Rs. 10,000 and cost of Rs. 5,000. Being aggrieved by the said order the Insurance Company has filed First Appeal No. 799 of 2006. Contending that the amount awarded by the District Forum is not adequate, the complainant has filed First Appeal No. 206 of 2007. Both the appeals being analogous they were heard together and are disposed of by this common order.
(2.) THE Insurance Company appointed B.K. Dhal, Surveyor and Loss Assessor. On the basis of the documents he found that the stock as on 31.7.2003 was worth Rs. 10,23,612.69. Thereafter another Loss Assessor (Lokesh Kumar Nayak) was appointed. In his report he has not come to any definite finding. The third Assessor (Pradeep Kumar Patnaik) observed that huge quantity of materials (28.189 M.T.) could not have been stored in a floor area of 80 sq. ft. He accordingly allowed Rs. 36,580.88 only. As mentioned above the first two Surveyors have not quantified any damage.
(3.) THERE is no dispute that during the subsistence of the insurance policy fire broke out in the godown of the complainant. The Insurance Company disputed the quantity of stock which was damaged in the fire. The statement of stock in godown of the complainant was available with the financing bank as on 25.10.2003. It is as follows: Description Last Balance Stock Received Total Delivered Stock Balance Rate Value Hydrochloric Acid NIL 9.120 M/T 9.120 M/T 9.120 M/T NIL Liquid Chlorine NIL 5.4 M/T 5.4 M/T 5.4 M/T NIL H.P.D. 9.0 M.T. 50 M/T 14.0 M/T 4.50 M/T 9.50 M/T 32.394 3,07,743 Caustic Soda Flakes 13.1 M/T NIL 13.1 M/T 1.0 M/T 12.1 M/T 23,800 2,87,980 Hunler and Swala Tea 6.089 M/T 1 M/T 7.089 M/T 0.5 M/T 6.589 M/T 90,000 5,93,010 Sinj HO Sauce 38 Bxs NIL 38 Bxs 2 Bxs 36 Bxs 481.83 17,345.88 Agarbati 6C/S 5C/S 11C/S 2 C/S 9C/S 2800 25,200 Cream Panar 6 C/S NIL 6 C/S NIL 6 C/S 1182 7,092 Liquid Blue 29 C/S NIL 29 C/S 2 C/S 27 C/S 449 12.123 12,50,493.88 Counsel for the Insurance Company submitted that the report of the financing bank was manufactured for the purpose of this case. We do not attach any importance to such submission. The financing bank is a nationalized bank and it is not expected that it would indulge in manufacturing or fabricating documents to support the complainant. As per the report of the financing bank goods worth of Rs. 12,50,493.88 was available with the complainant on 25.10.2003 (the day of fire). The stock mentioned in the report was in existence at the relevant time which was burnt for which the Insurance Company is bund to indemnify.;

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