Decided on May 13,1999

Gh Mohd Siraj Respondents


BHAWANI SINGH, J. - (1.) THIS group of six Appeals (CIA No. 72/1995 Oriental Insurance Company Limited Versus Ghulam Mohammad Siraj and Another; CIA No. 214/1996, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. Versus Mohammad Shaft Sofi; CIA No. 215/1996, Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., Versus Khursheed Ahmad Shah; CIA No. 217I 1996, Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Versus Abdul Gaffar Sofi; CIA No. 218/1996, Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Versus M/S Abdul Rehman Ab. Rashid Book Sellers and General Merchants and CIA No, 88/1995, Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Versus Amir Ahmad and Mohd Zia is proposed to be disposed of by common Judgment, since main issues raised in all of them are practically same. However particular reference to individual case would be made wherever necessary. For the sake of understanding the cases, relevant it would be to make mention of facts from first case. GENERAL FACTS
(2.) CLAIMANTS belong to Handwara (Kashmir). They had their shops at this place for the past many years. They carried insurance of the premises alongwith stocks -in -trade with the Appellant. For the last occasion, premium was paid to the agent of Appellant, who issued cover notes in favour of the claimants. This happened on September 14, 1990 and the cover notes were also issued on the same date. Unfortunately, the premises were gutted in fire on 1 -10 -1990, resulting in total loss to the claimants and large number of other buildings in Handwara Town with respect to which many other similar cases have either been disposed of or may be pending. The Appellant returned the bank drafts to the claimants, thereby refusing to issue Insurance Policies sought by the claimants, in April 1991. Since in CIA No. 72/1995, (Oriental Insurance Company Limited Versus Ghulam Mohammad Siraj and Anr.), the Surveyor had assessed the loss, but his report was not furnished before the Commission. Shri Khuroo wants to place this report us, but it is too late to accept it at this stage. In CIA No. 217/1996, (Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. Versus Abdul Gaffar Sofi), report of Surveyor was filed before the Commission. In CIA No. 214/1996, (Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. Versus Mohammad Shafi Sofi), the report of Surveyor was not furnished before the Commission, though it is annexed with the Memorandum of Appeal. In CIA No. 215/1996, (Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. Versus Khursheed Ahmad Shah), report has neither been furnished before the Commission nor before this Court. In CIA No. 218/1996, (Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Versus M/S Abdul Rehman Ab. Rashid Book Sellers and General Merchants), there is no report of Surveyor before this Court or before the Commission, in C!A No. 88/1995, (Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Versus Amir Ahmad and Mohd. Zia), report by Surveyor was furnished before .the Commission.
(3.) WHEN the Appellant failed to meet the claims, Commission was approached by the claimants which has decided the cases through the impugned orders. Shri N. H. Khuroo contended that these claims are barred by time, therefore, they should, not have been entertained by the Commission. On being asked from which date the limitation for initiation of these cases before the Commission is to be taken, Shri Khuroo contended that it is to be counted from the date of repudiation. But repudiation of the claims in these cases has not been established. Simply because certain documents are available on the file of the Appellant, that would not mean that claims were repudiated, or in the absence of satisfactory evidence showing that the repudiation was communicated against postal receipt or postal certificate. Since they are not available in these cases, it is difficult to say that these claims are barred by time, as contended. More over, incident took place on October 1, 1990. In some cases, the cheques were returned in April 1991. Exactly when they were received by the claimants is not established. Therefore, in these cases, the claims are within time. We also find that Appellant had been looking into these cases by appointing Surveyors to investigate and find out the loss. These claims from the date of receiving the reports till the date of filing these cases cannot be said to be barred by time. We also notice although objections as to limitation had been taken in similar cases, however, the same were not pressed before the Commission, since it is not recorded in the order of Commission. Above all, Commission had competence to condone the delay, therefore, since these claims have been entertained, it is to be taken that Commission has allowed these cases in the peculiar facts and circumstances of these cases and in the background of extreme militancy and disturbed condition prevailing in this part of the State at that time.;

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