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‘Delay in serving the notice’, cannot be a exception for Insurance Company in Accident c

KAMLESH. VS. SHRIRAM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD., CIVIL APPEAL NO.8796 OF 2019. – 19 November 2019.

The bench encompassing Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Vineet Saran collectively pronounced the judgment pertaining an insurance claim. The appellant’s owned a truck and it was damaged in fire during the night of 1st/2nd June, 2009 but the intimation to the respondent was given only on 3.6.2009 and a claim was raised for the same. The claim was however, repudiated by the respondent-insurance company vide letter dated 9.9.2009 on the basis of a report of a Surveyor/Investigator that the fire was not natural.

The Appellant filed a consumer complaint before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Lucknow, U.P. alleging deficiency on part of the respondent. The State Commission after a clear perusal of the above facts delivered an order supporting the claim of the Appellant.  The wordings of the State Commission are below:

“The opponent insurance company is hereby directed to pay the complainant 13,50,000 with 9% interest from the date of institution of the complaint till its payment within a period of one month. The opponent will also pay a Rs.10,000/- to the complainant as litigation expenses within the fixed period. If the above amount is not paid within the time fixed then the opponent will be liable to pay interest at the rate of 12% on the entire amount to the complainant. Both the parties will bear their own litigation expenses.”

This aggrieved the Respondent and he filed First Appeal No.797 of 2015 before the National Commission. The delay in presenting an intimation to the insurance company was taken into account and declared that there was infraction on part of the appellant. The matter and guidelines decided in Amalendu Sahu vs. Oriental Insurance Co Ltd was stressed and breach of policy was given attention. The wordings of the National Commission are below:

“On the basis of the above discussion, the first appeal No.797 of 2015 is partly allowed and the order of the State Commission is modified to the extent that instead of full IDV Rs.13,50,000/-, the appellant Company shall be liable to pay 60% of the IDV i.e. Rs.8,10,000/- (rupees eight lakh ten thousand only). This amount shall be paid by the Insurance Company along with 7% p.a. interest from the date of filing of the complaint. The litigation expenses of Rs.10,000/- awarded by the State Commission is maintained. The appellant is directed to comply with the order within 45 days from the date of service/receipt of this order.”

This appeal arises out of order dated 21.6.2019 passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at New Delhi in First Appeal No.797 of 2015. Mr. Ajay Kumar, learned advocate for the appellant argued that the intimation was given as early as possible and there was no delay on part of the appellant; that reliance on the decision in Amalendu Sahu was not quite correct; and that the National Commission ought not to have reduced the claim amount. Ms. Meenakshi Midha, learned advocate for the respondent supported the decision of the National Commission.

Considering the aforementioned statements, this Hon’ble Supreme Court pronounced the following judgment:

“The case that the appellant came up with was of an accidental loss, and, therefore, if no immediate notice was issued to the police, there was no infraction on part of the appellant. In our view, the notice was not delayed on any count and did satisfy the requirements contemplated by the conditions in the policy. In our view, there was thus no reason for the National Commission to hold that there was violation on part of the appellant and there was no justification to reduce the claim to the extent of 60% of the IDV of the vehicle. The conclusions drawn and the directions issued by the State Commission, in our view, were quite correct and did not call for any interference. We, therefore, allow this appeal, set aside the view taken by the National Commission and restore the order dated 11.08.2015 passed by the State Commission.”

Jumanah Kader

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