Decided on March 12,1999

SH VESH NATH JAD Respondents


T.S. Doabia, J. - (1.) THE house property belonging to the respondent complainant was insured with the appellant Insurance Company. THE said house suffered damage on account of fire. This damage was caused on the night intervening 11 /12th December, 1994. A Surveyor was appointed. He assessed the loss at Rs. 5,54,581 / -. On 4th December, 1996, the appellant Company paid a sum of Rs. 5,54,581/ -. This was accepted by the complainant. After accepting this amount, the complainant approached the State Commission constituted under the Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987. He submitted that the Surveyor's report was not in accordance with the law. In any case, the respondent -complainant submitted that he was entitled to interest on the late payment.
(2.) THE appellant Company took an objection. This objection was to the effect that the complainant had given a receipt which indicates that there was full and final settlement and the liability of the appellant Insurance Company under the contract of insurance stood met. The State Commission was of the view that not withstanding the fact that the complainant had issued a receipt regarding receipt of compensation amount indicating that there was full and final settlement, the complainant was still entitled to the interest on account of delayed payment. The view of the Commission is that so far as the question of interest is concerned that can still be examined. The plea of estoppel if any, would operate only regarding compensation amount and not regarding any other claim. After forming this view, the Commission allowed interest @ 18% from the date of occurrence till the date of payment i.e. 4th December 1996. It is against the above order passed by the Commission, the present appeal has been preferred.
(3.) THE learned Counsel appearing for the appellant submits that the question of dispute being settled would arise only when there is a subsisting dispute or difference between the parties. It is submitted that once there is a settlement of claims, then the question of a dispute being pending which requires adjudication before the authorities constituted under the Jammu and Kashmir State Consumer Protection Act of 1987, would not arise. What is sought to be contended is that an accord and satisfaction can be pleaded as a defence in these proceedings and this, if proved, would be enough to reject the claim of the complainant.;

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