ICICI PRUDENTIAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. LTD. Vs. LATIKA SHIVSHANKAR SALUNKE
LAWS(MHCDRC)-2008-7-2
MAHARASHTRA STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
Decided on July 05,2008

ICICI PRUDENTIAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. LTD. Appellant
VERSUS
LATIKA SHIVSHANKAR SALUNKE Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) PRESIDENT -This appeal filed by ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd. is directed against the order dated 22.10.2007 passed by District Consumer Forum Solapur.
(2.) WE heard Mr. Sachin Chandarana, Advocate for the appellant/Insurance Company and Ms. Bindu Jain, Advocate for the respondent/org. complainant. Factual background:
(3.) SHIVSHANKAR Pandurang Salunke had taken lifetime insurance policy. Sum assured was Rs. 5,50,000. He submitted proposal on 26.5.2006. The proposal was accepted by the Insurance Company. The risk was covered with effect from 4.8.2006. The premium was to be made on 1st of every month. Grace period not more than 15 days was allowed. The insured paid two instalments after commencement of the policy. The insured paid premium due 1.10.2006 by cheque dated 19.10.2006. The insured paid premium due on 1.11.2006 also by cheque dated 1.11.2006. The insured died on 15.12.2006. The widow lodged the claim. The Insurance Company repudiated the claim on the ground that the policy was in lapsed condition. According to the Insurance Company both the cheques were dishonoured on account of mismatched signature. Therefore, the widow filed consumer complaint in the District Consumer Forum, Solapur. The said complaint was opposed by the Insurance Company. The Forum below rejected the defence raised by the Insurance Company and allowed the complaint. The Forum below directed the Insurance Company to pay Rs. 5,50,000 to the complainant together with interest @ 9% p.a. from 3.5.2007. The learned Advocate Mr. Chandarana vehemently submitted that cheque dated 19.10.2006 was dishonoured on 20.10.2006 on account of mismatched signature. Similarly, cheque dated 1.11.2006 was dishonoured on 3.11.2006 on account of mismatched signature. The learned Advocate Mr. Chandarana argued further that due to failure to pay premium the policy was lapsed. He also argued that for want of consideration the contract of insurance is void. He pointed out that some of the observations made by the District Consumer Forum are contrary to the well settled legal position. He relied upon a decision of the National Commission in the case of United India Insurance Co. v. N. Mohan Reddy and Anr., I (1996) CPJ 11 (NC) and a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Seema Malhotra and Ors., I (2001) ACC 317 (SC)=II (2001) SLT 229=(2001) 3 SCC 151. On the other hand, Learned Advocate Ms. Bindu jain argued that the cheque were dishonoured fraudulently. She pointed out that there was sufficient balance in the account of the insured. She strongly supported the impugned order under challenge.;


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