UNITED INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Vs. NAND LAL CHANDEL
LAWS(UTRCDRC)-2006-1-2
UNION TERRITORY STATE CONSUMER DISPUTE REDRESSAL COMMISSION
Decided on January 16,2006

UNITED INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Appellant
VERSUS
Nand Lal Chandel Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

ASHOK GANGADHAR MARATHA V. ORIENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED." [REFERRED TO]
NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED VS. SWARAN SINGH [REFERRED TO]
HEMANT KUMAR CHHABRA VS. ORIENTAL INSURANCE CO LTD [REFERRED TO]
JAI HIND KNITTING MACHINE VS. BRIJ MOHAN [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THIS appeal has been filed against the order dated 2.9.2005 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum -II,U.T., Chandigarh in Complaint Case No. 945 of 2004. The relevant facts in brief are as under.
(2.)THE respondent/complainant Sh. Nand Lal Chandel was the registered owner of Swaraj Mazda Truck bearing number HP -64 -1186. The respondent/complainant averred that all the taxes payable upto 31.3.2004 were paid and a fitness certificate was issued for the period 3.2.2003 to 2.2.2005. The respondent/complainant further got the vehicle insured with the appellant/OP United India Insurance Company Limited which assessed the value of vehicle at Rs. 6,11,000. The respondent/complainant has averred that when the insurance policy in question was taken, the development officer/agent of OP got the proposal form signed from him but the registered laden weight was not mentioned on that document. The insurance policy mentioned the gross vehicle weight at 6000 kgs, copy of the policy has been brought on record vide Annexure C -2. On 19.3.2003, the aforesaid vehicle, was badly damaged in an accident which occurred near Datyar, District Solan. The respondent reported the accident to the insurer and all the requisite formalities were completed. It has also been averred by the complainant that the Insurance Company deputed Sh. Subhash Kumar as the Surveyor who after detailed survey told him that the loss has been assessed at Rs. 2,12,000. The respondent has also alleged that aforesaid Surveyor got a blank claim form signed from him and assured to get the payment from the Insurance Company. However in the survey report dated 12.5.2003 mentioned the loss of Rs. 1,49,629.65 paise (Annexure C -5) but inspite of repeated visits, no money was paid to him by the Insurance Company. The respondent also approached the Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services) but there also since the claim was not settled by the appellant, the application from Lok Adalat was withdrawn and the complaint in the District Forum was instituted. The respondent has alleged that this there was gross deficiency and negligence on the part of Insurance Company as his claim has been unduly delayed without any valid reason. He incurred financial losses by way of payment of additional interest as the vehicle in question was hypothecated to ICICI Bank. In the prayer clause, the respondent/complainant has prayed for a sum of Rs. 4,53,500 with interest @ 18% p.a and the costs of litigation.
(3.)IN the written reply filed on behalf of United India Insurance Company Limited, the preliminary objections taken are that the complainant has no locus standi to file the complaint and is guilty of getting the vehicle driven in gross violation to the condition of insurance policy and Motor Vehicles Act. However, the claim was processed as per norms by the Competent Authority of the Insurance Company and it was rejected as being not payable after due application of mind, hence no deficiency can be alleged and no complaint can lie against the insurer. A plea of lack of territorial jurisdiction has also been taken as the complainant is resident of Kalka, the policy in question was taken from Parwanoo Branch situated in Himachal Pradesh, the accident having occurred in Solan (H.P), hence, the Forum at Chandigarh lacks the requisite territorial jurisdiction in the dispute.
In reply on merits, it has been stated that the occurrence of accident in the manner as stated in the complaint has not been proved as the respondent/complainant failed to attach the required documentary proof. Further the Insurance Company has pleaded that it is obliged to settle the claim only if there is compliance of the conditions of the insurance policy and Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which in the instant case were violated as the vehicle in question was driven by a driver who was not duly licenced to drive the same. Further the loss assessed by the Surveyor could be paid only after consigning the salvage to the insurer and fulfilment of conditions of contract of insurance. Since there was total violation of the important terms of policy, the claim was not settled. Other averments in the complaint have been denied in toto and it is stated that even if the loss is assessed at Rs. 2,12,000 it was subject to the adjustment of salvage. The respondent/complainant has also submitted that the consequential losses or damages cannot be taken congnizance by the redressal agencies set up under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, hence claim of losses by way of interest to ICICI is not maintainable. The appellant/OP has reiterated the complaint have been filed with the ulterior motives as the same is unsustainable and the company is not obliged to settle the claim as there was violation of contract of insurance policy.



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