Decided on April 01,2008

Branch Manager The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd, Appellant
N.RAJENDRAN Respondents


K.SAMPATH, J. - (1.) The Opposite party in COP No.36/2004 on the file of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Erode, is the appellant herein. The case of the complainant was as follows: - He bought a tractor which was insured with the opposite party in the year 1998 and the insurance was being periodically renewed. While the policy was in force, the vehicle met with an accident on 29/7/2003. The driver died on the spot due to fatal injuries. The vehicle was fully damaged as it fell into a well. The Motor Vehicles Inspector, Gobi, filed a report stating that the vehicle was fully damaged and unfit for use. A case was also registered under Sec.304-A IPC. On 22/8/2003 the accident was reported to the opposite party along with necessary documents. On 25/11/2003 the opposite party insurance company sent a letter asking the complainant to produce the original licence of the deceased driver. It was shown to the officers and a Xerox copy was furnished. The original was received back by the family members of the deceased driver. On 1/12/2003 the complainant sent a reply stating that all the documents had also been produced. But the opposite party sent the same type of letters asking the complainant to produce the original licence of the driver for processing the policy papers. On 29/1/2004 the complainant sent a lawyers notice claiming damages for the accident. On 10/2/2004 the opposite party replied that the original driving licence should be produced within 15 days from the date of receipt of the letter as otherwise the claim would be treated as no claim. In these circumstances, the complaint came to be filed.
(2.) The opposite party filed a version inter-alia stating as follows: - On receipt of the claim intimation letter dated 13/7/2003, the opposite party appointed an independent surveyor one Mr.Rangasamy to conduct a spot survey. He visited the spot on 30/7/2003 and submitted a report on 27/8/2003. Another independent qualified surveyor and loss assessor one Mr.Gopalakrishnan submitted his report on 10/10/2003 in which he assessed the loss as (i) net liability on salvage basis at Rs.1,80,500/- and (ii)net liability on total loss basis at Rs.1,33,000/-. On 19/11/2003 yet another insurance surveyor Engineer V.Dhanasekar verified the driving licence of the tractor driver P.Sengodan and submitted that it was a fake one. The insurance company wrote several letters requesting the complainant to produce the original driving licence of the driver. The complainant had replied that he could not submit the original driving licence. The opposite party had no access to the original driving licence of the driver employed by the insured. The insurance company had expressed their inability to process the complainants claim without verifying the original driving licence. The complainant, without complying with the request, has chosen to issue legal notice. The insurance company requested the Motor Vehicles Inspector by their letter dated 11/2/2004 to verify whether the driving licence was genuine, but had not received any reply. The complaint was liable to be dismissed.
(3.) The District Forum found that there was deficiency in service on the part of the opposite party and by order dated 28/1/2005 allowed the complaint and directed the opposite party to pay Rs.2,50,000/- with interest at 12% p.a. from the date of complaint together with Rs.5,000/- as compensation for mental agony and Rs.1,000/- as costs. It is as against that the present appeal has been filed.;

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