Decided on February 27,2020

Nirula Handicrafts Bazar (P) Ltd. Appellant
Tata Aig General Insurance Co. Ltd. Respondents


V.K.Jain,J. - (1.) The complainant, which is appellant in FA No. 449 of 2019 and respondent in FA No. 702 of 2019 is engaged in the business of export and sale of handicraft items. The complainant obtained a policy namely "My Business My Choice" from Tata AIG General Insurance Company Ltd., which is appellant in FA No. 702 of 2019 and respondent in FA No. 449 of 2019. The policy, inter alia, insured the goods kept in the premises of the complainant at 10-11-12 Doctor's Lane, Gole Market New Delhi against burglary to the extent of Rs 4 crore. During subsistence of the insurance policy, the premises of the complainant was sealed by NDMC on 27.03.2008 in compliance of the directions issued by the monitoring committee of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The case of the complainant is that despite the sealing it had deployed security guards up to 31.08.2009 to guard the sealed premises. This is also the case of the complainant that the security guards of the other premises in the vicinity were also instructed to keep a watch on the sealed promises. In the night intervening 12-13.02.2010 burglary happened in the premises of the complainant and several articles kept therein were stolen. On the very next day i.e. 13.02.2010 the complainant requested the monitoring committee to de-seal the premises in order to allow him to make an assessment of the loss. Simultaneously, the burglary was also brought to the notice of the concerned police station, though in the absence of details of the loss, the particulars could not be provided at that time. The premises were de-sealed for 3 hours on 08.03. 2010. After de-sealing, it transpired that the temporary plastic shed in the driveway had been broken and so had been the front door of the premises. Several precious articles had allegedly been stolen from the premises. FIR at the concerned police station was lodged on the same day.
(2.) On intimation being given to the insurer on 20.05.2010, a surveyor was appointed by the insurer to assess the loss. The premises was also desealed on the instructions of the monitoring committee in order to enable the surveyor to inspect the same and assess the loss. The concerned police station, however, filed an untrace report in respect of the FIR which the complainant has lodged.
(3.) Vide its letter the insurer intimated the complainant as under:- "On the happening of any loss or damage the Insured shall forthwith give notice thereof to the Company and shall within 15 days after the loss or damage, or such further time as the Company may in writing allow in that behalf, deliver to the Company. Since the property was uninhabited for more than 2 years, property being sealed by municipal authority, the cover under the policy has ceased as per Exclusion No.2(a) of the Burglary rider attached to the policy that states that This Policy shall cease to attach if the premises shall have been left uninhabited by day and night for seven or more consecutive days and nights while the premises shall have been left uninhabited. Since the material fact of sealing of the property was not disclosed to our underwriter, the policy stands void as per general condition No.1 of the policy that states that This Policy shall be voidable in the event of mis-representation, mis-description or non-disclosure of any material particular. In the light of the above, we regret our inability to consider the claim and are closing the claim from our end. ............... If no representation/clarification is received by us within 15 days of receipt of this letter, the claim will be finally treated as repudiated on the grounds clearly mentioned in this letter.";

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