Decided on January 04,2021

M/S. Arihant Industries Appellant


C.VISWANATH, J. - (1.) The present Appeal, under Section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has been filed by the Appellant against the order dated 03.08.2015 of the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Circuit Bench at Aurangabad (hereinafter referred to as "the State Commission) in CC/05/2014.
(2.) The Complainant/Appellant obtained "Standard Fire and Special Perils" Insurance Policies for stocks of cotton etc. and plant and machinery. Complainant's factory met with a fire incident on 29.03.2009 at about 9.30 am. Huge stock of the cotton was damaged in the accident. The accident was reported to the Police and an FIR No.3/2009 was registered. The Complainant stated that he informed the Opposite Party/Insurance Company regarding the loss and thereafter submitted all the relevant documents as sought for by the Surveyor, Mr. J.C. Bhansali. The Surveyor assessed the loss at Rs.32,92,525/- only, though the total loss suffered was to the tune of Rs.99,45,286/-. The Opposite Party also appointed M/s Charter House Detective Services to ascertain the actual loss, who submitted their investigation report. Police after investigation found that the fire was accidental. The Opposite Party, on 22.03.2012, offered the Complainant a settlement of Rs.39,72,829. As a part of the settlement, the Complainant was made to execute an indemnity bond in favour of the Opposite Party. As per the Complainant, he was facing financial difficulties and therefore accepted the settlement offered by the Opposite Party and accordingly executed an Indemnity bond and a Discharge Voucher in the name of the Opposite Party. The Complainant stated that he had accepted the settlement under protest. Alleging deficiency in service by the Opposite Party, he filed Complaint before the State Commission with the following prayer: - "1. It is prayed that, the respondent be directed to pay the complainant an amount of Rs.59,72,457/- being the amount due towards respondent of claim. 2. It is prayed that, the complainant is entitled to claim interest at the rtate of 15% from the date of the fire/incident i.e. 29.03.2009. 3. It is prayed that, the complainant is entitled to compensation of Rs. 10.00 Lac or such other higher amount as may found fit and proper towards harassment and mental agony. 4. The cost of the complaint may kindly be awarded to the complainant."
(3.) The Complaint was contested by the Respondent/Opposite Party. Though the Surveyor could not ascertain the cause of fire, assessment was carried out without prejudice and subject to findings of CID inquiry/police investigations. The District Collector, Aurangabad appointed a Committee to go into the cause of fire and initiated investigation. Since it was taking a long time, it was decided to settle the claim as per the assessment made by the Surveyor, subject to the Complainant executing an indemnity bond in favour of the Opposite Party. The Complainant was paid an amount of Rs.39,72,829 towards full and final settlement of the claim on 22.03.2012, after signing the Discharge Voucher and executing an Indemnity Bond. The Opposite Party stated that the Complainant having accepted the full and final settlement was barred from raising a dispute. The Consumer Complaint was not maintainable as it was falsely filed after a lapse of more than 2 years.;

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