Decided on November 11,2009

Govind Singh Fartiyal Respondents


- (1.) INSURANCE Company challenged the legality and propriety of the order dated 27.10.2006 passed by the District Forum, Nainital allowing consumer complaint No. 127 of 2005 with costs of Rs.1,500 and further directing the Insurance Company to pay compensation of Rs.96,652 with interest @ 9% p.a. from the date of repudiation of the claim, i.e. 5.8.2004 till payment by way of indemnification of the loss occasioned to the complainant due to accident of his insured heavy goods vehicle No. UP01/5772 on 18.2.2004 in a hill route of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
(2.) COMPLAINANT 's claim was repudiated by the Insurance Company on the ground that the driving licence of the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident was not endorsed for heavy goods vehicle on hill routes of Kumaon region. As stated above, accident occurred on 18.2.2004, whereas admittedly the said driver had endorsement of heavy goods vehicle in hill routes on his driving licence on 30.4.2004. The District Forum rejected the contention of the Insurance Company, by observing that it was not a gross violation of the contract of insurance, in view of the fact that the driver had his driving licence endorsed for hill routes since 8.2.1988 in regard to light motor vehicles and on that premise, accepted the complainant's allegation that the Insurance Company made deficiency in service in repudiating the claim and awarded compensation of Rs.96,652 in spite of the fact that the independent Surveyor assessed loss of Rs.47,347.75. The District Forum did not record any reason to avoid the assessment of the loss made by independent Surveyor.
(3.) LEARNED counsel for the Insurance Company persuasively argued that it being admittedly a case of breach of terms and conditions of the insurance policy by reason of the driver of the vehicle not authorized to drive the heavy goods vehicle at the time of the accident, the District Forum fell in error in making the observation that there being no substantial breach of contract of insurance, the Insurance Company cannot avoid its liability to pay compensation to the complainant. On the other hand, learned counsel for the complainant urged that as is evident from the report of the Surveyor, the accident occurred as a result of collapse of left side edge of the road and, as such, there was no nexus between the absence of hill endorsement of heavy goods vehicle in the driving licence of the driver and the cause of accident and, therefore, the District Forum was justified in allowing the complaint for the reason stated above and particularly when the driver was duly authorized to drive light motor vehicle on hill routes of Kumaon region since 8.2.1988 and was, thus, had an experience of 16 years of driving of vehicle in the hills. Having carefully considered the respective submissions, we see merit in the argument of the learned counsel for the Insurance Company, we are of the considered view that the District Forum fell in error in recording a finding in favour of the complainant and awarding the compensation to the complainant by the order impugned.;

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