Decided on December 31,2009

Neena Devi And Ors Appellant


- (1.) THIS is complainant's appeal against the order dated 18.05.2007 passed by the District Forum, Udham Singh Nagar, dismissing consumer complaint No. 49 of 2004.
(2.) SARVARKHERA Vikas Sansthan (hereinafter referred to as the "society") is the manufacturer of Mentha Oil, Mentha Flake and Mentha Bold etc. It took Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy to have an insurance cover of its factory building, plant and machinery and stock for total sum of Rs. 28,58,250/ - from the insurance company for the period 10.09.2002 to 09.09.2003. On 12.07.2003 at about 3:00 a.m., due to short -circuiting in the electric main switch, fire broke out in the factory premises, which got spread and caused the loss to the building, machinery and stock. Claim was preferred with the insurance company, which obtained preliminary and final survey reports from its surveyors to assess the loss. As per final survey report dated 20.10.2003 of Sh. R.P. Agarwal, Chartered Engineer and licensed Surveyor, net payable loss was assessed at Rs. 4,21,443/ -, as against claimed loss of Rs. 22,19,725/ -. Complainant, however, received sum of Rs. 4,21,163/ - from the insurance company and President of the complainant society Smt. Neena Devi executed the discharge voucher in full and final settlement of the claim on 09.01.2004 and received the cheque of the amount from the insurance company. Complainant thereafter on 28.01.2004, gave notice to the insurance company through its counsel that part payment of Rs. 4,21,163/ - on 09.01.2004 has been made against the claim and demanded the payment of Rs. 17,98,412/ -, the remaining amount of the claim with interest and legal expenses within 15 days of the receipt of the notice. In reply to the said notice, the insurance company vide its reply dated 04.02.2004 reiterated that the aforesaid amount has been paid to the complainant to the complainant in full and final settlement of the claim and, therefore, no balance amount is due to the complainant from the insurance company. The complainant being dissatisfied with the receipt of the amount against the claim, filed the afore -mentioned consumer complaint on 09.03.2004 and a prayer was made for grant of compensation of Rs. 17,98,462/ -; Rs. 10,000/ - as electricity charges and Rs. 15,000/ - per month as bank interest.
(3.) THE District Forum, on an appreciation of the material on record, dismissed the consumer complaint, by observing that the complainant has totally failed to prove that it suffered loss of Rs. 22,19,675/ - in the fire incident and in the process, putting a seal of authenticity to the assessment of loss made by the surveyor and also by the fire fighting wing of Police Department, which had extinguished the fire and estimated the loss of Rs. 4,12,500/ - to the complainant's establishment including the stock etc. The District Forum, however, observed that since the complainant claimed that sum of Rs. 4,21,163/ - has not been received in full and final settlement of the claim, the complaint filed for relief claimed, was legally maintainable. Aggrieved by the order impugned, the complainant preferred this appeal. On the contentions raised by the learned counsel for the parties, the following points arise for consideration in this appeal: (i) Whether the discharge voucher with regard to receipt of sum of Rs. 4,21,163/ - executed by the President of the complainant society Smt. Neena Devi, was executed towards receipt of part payment of the claim preferred or it was executed in full and final settlement of the claim preferred by the complainant with the insurance company? (ii) Whether the loss assessed per survey and loss assessment report dated 20.10.2003 by Sh. R.P. Agarwal, Chartered Engineer and licensed Surveyor, was insufficient and not based on proper assessment of the damage to the building, machinery and stock of the complainant in terms of the policy of insurance ?;

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