Decided on March 01,2006

Anuradha Saxena Respondents


J.D.KAPOOR,J - (1.) ON the face of it the impugned order is not only harsh but not in accordance with the spirit and object of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Merely on account of having not despatched or issued the insurance policy to the respondent well in time and having produced the duplicate receipt the veracity of which was doubted by the District Forum, the District Forum vide impugned order dated 28.10.2005 has awarded Rs. 20,000 as cost and compensation and Rs. 30,000 as punitive damages.
(2.) FEELING aggrieved the appellant has directed this appeal.
(3.) ADMITTEDLY the respondent has been obtaining for the past few years the mediclaim policy from the appellant for self, husband and two children and applied for renewal by the appellant for the year 2004 -2005 and paid the premium of Rs. 5,966. Though the cheque was encashed but neither the cover note nor the policy was issued to the respondent. However, the policy was issued on 25.6.2004 and was despatched on 28.6.2004 and when the respondent informed the appellant that she has not received the policy it was again despatched on 29.7.2004. The object of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is to compensate the consumer as to the actual loss or injury suffered by him due to negligence on the part of the O.P. and not to compensate for an amount which may prove to be a wind fall or enrich the consumer unjustly and undeservedly. For the delay in despatch the amount of compensation without there being any evidence as to the actual loss or injury suffered by the respondent and worst the amount of punitive damages, which was not called for in this case shows the utter non -application of mind by the District Forum. The impugned order smacks of whimsicality and capriciousness and is not sustainable on any ground whatsoever. It appears that the District Forum was completely ignorant of the concept of punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded where the consumer suffers immensely and the nature of the offence committed by the O.P. is such which affects large number of potential consumers and arises out of unfair trade practice of such magnitude that it shows the unscrupulous designs of the traders or the providers of service.;

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