Decided on November 01,2010

REETA SHARMA Respondents


- (1.)APPELLANT -opposite party (hereinafter called 'the appellant') filed this appeal against the impugned order dated 3.3.2009 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ropar (in short, 'the District Forum').
(2.)FACTS in brief are that the complainant/respondent -Reeta Sharma (hereinafter called 'the respondent') filed the complaint taking the plea that she is owner of the car make Alto -LX bearing registration No. PB -16 -B -5031 and the same met with an accident on the intervening night of 29/30.11.2006 in the area of village Sahorran, Police Station Kharar, District S.A.S. Nagar. In this accident, four persons including the husband of the complainant lost their life. FIR No. 443 dated 30.11.2004 was registered at Police Station, Kharar. The said car was insured with the appellant vide cover note No. 566510, which was valid from 2.2.2006 to 1.2.2007. The car was totally damaged and survey was conducted by the Surveyor of the appellant. The estimate regarding the damage was prepared by Vishwakarma Motors, Maruti Authorised Service Station, Chanalon on 24.4.2007.
(3.)RESPONDENT lodged the claim with the appellant but the appellant did not make the payment and kept on putting of on one pretext or the other. The appellant is bound to make the payment of Rs. 2,15,000 as the cost of the damaged car along with interest, towing charges and other expenses. Compensation and litigation expenses were also prayed.
In the reply filed on behalf of the appellant, objections were taken that the complaint is not maintainable and the FIR No. 443 dated 30.11.2006 under Sections 279, 304 -A IPC was lodged against an unknown driver and unknown vehicle. The car No. PB -16 -B -5031 was insured under a private car insurance policy and the said car was carrying gratuitous passengers at the time of accident. The District Forum has no jurisdiction. Appellant has filed appeals before the Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the third party cases in which the question of carrying gratuitous passengers in a vehicle at the time of accident is involved. The Hon'ble High Court has stayed the execution of the impugned award of MACT, Ropar vide orders dated 21.7.2008. There is no deficiency on the part of the appellant. On merits, it was admitted that the accident took place and the FIR was lodged against unknown driver and unknown vehicle. It was also admitted that the car was insured for the period from 2.2.2006 to 1.2.2007. It was also admitted that the car was damaged in the accident and the Surveyor was appointed for assessing the loss and the same was assessed to Rs. 1,38,870 on cash loss basis. The matter was still pending before the Hon'ble High Court and prayed that the complaint be dismissed.

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