Decided on September 10,2010

BIR SINGH Respondents


- (1.) MAIN thrust of the submission of Mr. Chandan Goel, learned Counsel for the appellant in support of this appeal was, that vide Annexure R.1, his client had insured the tractor in question as a vehicle meant exclusively for agricultural use, whereas according to him, there is overwhelming evidence to establish that the vehicle was being plied for transport purposes i.e. for carriage of building material by the respondent. With a view to advance his case, Mr. Goel pointed out that besides Annexure R.1, there is F.I.R., Annexure R.2 as well as report of Mr. Kamal Narian, HPS (Retd.), Annexure R.4. As per the report of Shri Kamal Narian, respondent was a Contractor and he was undertaking the work of widening the roads with Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department (HP PWD) and the tractor which is subject matter of this appeal bearing Registration No.HP -08B -0257 was being used to carry the mud and stone etc. This tractor met with accident on 7.4.2007, was admittedly insured with the appellant under a valid insurance policy is not in dispute. District Forum below according to Mr. Goel committed grave error by ignoring these vital documents and consequently passing the impugned order while allowing Consumer Complaint No.8/2008 on 6.1.2010, directing the appellant to indemnify the respondent in the sum of Rs.3,91,400/ - minus excess clause alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of filing of the complaint i.e.1.1.2008 till actual payment was made alongwith litigation cost of Rs.2,500/ -. At the same time respondent has been directed to deliver the Registration Certificate (R.C.), key alongwith salvage of the tractor within one month from the date of receipt of the copy of the said order.
(2.) TO our query, Mr. Goel, learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that his client carries on insurance business and it is regulated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. He further submitted that Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Protection of Policy Holders Interests) Regulations, 2002 were applicable in this case.
(3.) IT was also not disputed at the time of hearing that before issuance of Annexure R.1, cover note had been issued, copy whereof is at page 41 alongwith the complaint. There is nothing to suggest that the Insurance agent/Development Officer who had issued the same on behalf of the appellant had insured the tractor in question exclusively for agricultural purposes. This observation we are making in the face of the contents of this document. At this stage we again asked Mr. Goel as to on what basis, Annexure R.1, was issued by his client, his submission was that no doubt there is no mention of the tractor having been insured for agricultural purposes, however he placed reliance on the contents of F.I.R. as well as the report of the Investigator Mr. Kamal Narian and forcefully urged that the tractor in question was insured only for agricultural purposes. Why this fact was not mentioned in the cover note, learned Counsel had no explanation. Here, it may be appropriate to mention that under the Regulations of 2002, it was the duty of the insurer or its agent or intermediary to provide all material information in respect of proposed cover to the prospect to enable the prospect to decide on the best cover that would be in his/her own interest. In this behalf, we are of the view that in case the person who undertook the insurance in this case and had issued the cover note, had explained all that was required of him under law and then would have asked for payment of premium applicable in respect of commercial vehicle, we see no reason why the respondent would not pay the same. We may also point out in this behalf that it is not the case of the appellant that despite having been called upon to pay the premium applicable in case of commercial vehicle, respondent refused to pay the same and asked for insuring it only for agricultural purposes.;

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