Gurdev Singh, J. (President) -
(1.) THIS appeal has been preferred by the appellant/complainant, Lt. Col. Nirbhey Kumar, against the order dated 24.1.2014 passed by District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bathinda (in short, "District Forum"), vide which the complaint filed by him under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short, "the Act") for directing the respondents/opposite parties to settle the insurance claim at Rs. 8,08,495 and to pay Rs. 3,00,000 as compensation on account of mental tension and harassment suffered by him, was dismissed. He alleged in his complaint that he purchased one car make Honda City through CSD from opposite party No. 1 with the assistance of State Bank of India on 15.7.2012 and the same was got insured by that opposite party with opposite party No. 2, for which a premium of Rs. 20,044 was charged. It was comprehensive insurance and Policy No. LKG/1000236 was issued for the period 15.7.2012 to 14.7.2013. This car met with an accident on 25.2.2013 in respect of which DDR No. 24 dated 25.2.2013 was got registered in Police Station Cantt., Bathinda. He informed opposite party Nos. 1 and 2 regarding the accident and Surveyor of opposite party No. 2 asked him to take the vehicle to the nearest authorized station (Prestige Honda, Lally Motors Pvt. Ltd., Ludhiana) and that he would be compensated accordingly. He took the car to Ludhiana on 26.2.2013 for repairs and after inspection by the said agency the estimate of Rs. 8,08,495 was prepared and the same included the cost of spare parts, labour charges, service tax and VAT etc. He submitted the claim to opposite party No. 2 well within time but the same was rejected by it, vide letter dated 10.5.2013, on the ground that at the time of the accident he was not having a valid driving licence. In fact, it was Driving Licence No. M -1069/JHS -5, which was got verified and not Licence No. MISS 1069/JHS/2005, which was held by him. In addition to that, he had another driving licence No. IC -49452, which was issued by the competent authority of the Military where he had been serving. This very opposite party on the previous occasion had admitted two claims made by him on the basis of the same driving licence and in respect of one of the claim the sum of Rs. 95,000 was paid to him on 29.9.2012 and the other has not been settled so far. The complaint was contested by opposite party Nos. 2 and 3, who filed joint written reply before the District Forum. In that written reply they admitted that the car was got insured with them for a sum of Rs. 7,23,646 and that intimation regarding the accident was received by them and that the claim made by the complainant was repudiated after his driving licence was found to be fake. While denying the other allegations made in the complaint, they pleaded that at the time of the accident the car was being driven by Utsav son of the complainant, who was minor and was in competent to drive the same. The car was being driven at such excessive speed that the same broke the pillar of wall of the park and settled in the park itself. The details of the occurrence have not been given by the complainant. Even if the District Forum comes to the conclusion that the car was being driven by the complainant, even then, the claim was not permissible as Driving Licence No. M -1069/JHS/05 so relied by him was fake and in fact it was issued to one Mahi Pal. After the information regarding the alleged occurrence was given, they deputed G.S. Sohal and Company, Surveyor and Loss Assessor, who after conducting the survey assessed the loss at Rs. 4,27,883, after applying the depreciation and the other terms and conditions of the policy, and thereafter submitted the report dated 10.4.2013. Investigation was conducted and during that investigation it transpired that an attempt has been made to change the driver, as at the time of the accident the car was being driven by Utsav and not by the complainant and that too at a very high speed. The complainant concealed the material facts from them as well as from the District Forum and, as such, is not entitled to any relief so claimed by him. He concocted a false story in order to get the claim. He is not their 'consumer' and has no locus -standi nor any cause of action to file this complaint and the same is not maintainable. Moreover, intricate questions of law and facts are involved, which require voluminous evidence and documents for determination and the same is not possible in the summary proceedings under the Act and the appropriate remedy, if any, lies before the Civil Court. They prayed for the dismissal of the complaint with special costs under Section 26 of the Act; being false, frivolous and vexatious to the knowledge of the complainant and having been filed to injure their goodwill and reputation.
(2.) BOTH the sides produced evidence in support of their respective averments before the District Forum, which after going through the same and hearing learned Counsel on their behalf dismissed the complaint, vide aforesaid order. We have heard learned Counsel for the appellant/complainant and have carefully gone through the records of the District Forum, which were called at the stage of preliminary hearing.
(3.) IT was submitted by the learned Counsel for the complainant that the District Forum came to the wrong conclusion, while dismissing the complaint, that the complainant was not holding a valid driving licence. It failed to consider the evidence produced by the complainant for proving that he was holding a valid driving licence issued by the Licensing Authority, Jhansi (M.P.) and in addition to that he was also having a driving licence issued by the Military Authorities and by virtue of the relevant Appendix of the Driving Manual, he was competent to drive the car. In these circumstances, opposite party Nos. 2 and 3 could not have repudiated his claim on the ground that he was not holding a valid driving licence.;