At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE DR. S.M. KANTIKAR
For the Petitioners: M. V. Shingade, R. G. Sikhwal, Advocates. For the Respondent: Rakesh Dubey, Mugdha R. Sawant, Advocates.
V.K. Jain, Presiding Member (Oral)
1. The complainants/petitioners purchased a tractor after taking a loan for a sum of Rs. 4 lakh from the respondent/Bank. The tractor was purchased on 10.6.2002. It is alleged in para 4 of the complaint that at the time of taking the loan, the respondent/bank had agreed to take insurance of said tractor from time to time. It is further alleged in the complaint that for the second year, the respondent/bank informed the complainants that they had taken insurance of the tractor for the period from June, 2003 to June, 2004. Thereafter, the complainants allegedly sent an application dated 17.6.2003 to the respondent/bank
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seeking a copy of the insurance cover note. The aforesaid cover note was not provided to him. The tractor having met with an accident on 11.10.2003, the complainants/petitioners, namely, Manoj and Ram, wanted to lodge a claim with the insurer but in the absence of insurance policy, they could not do so. It later transpired that the insurance cover for the second year had not at all been obtained. The complainants, therefore, approached the concerned District Forum seeking compensation for the damage caused to the tractor.2. The complaint was resisted by the respondent/bank, which inter alia took the stand that as per the terms and conditions of the loan agreement, the insurance cover was to be obtained by the borrower and not by the respondent/Bank.3. The District Forum having allowed the complaint, the respondent/bank approached the State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide impugned order dated 12.08.2013, the State Commission allowed the appeal filed by the respondent/Bank and consequently, dismissed the complaint. Being aggrieved, the complainants/petitioners are before this Commission by way of this revision petition.4. It is not in dispute that as per the terms and conditions of the loan agreement, the insurance cover in the joint name of the borrowers and lenders, was required to be taken by the borrower. Thus, it was the contractual obligation of the complainants/petitioners to obtain the insurance cover in respect of the tractor purchased by them. The case of the complainants/petitioners is that despite the aforesaid contractual obligation contained in the loan agreement, the respondent/Bank took it upon itself to obtain the insurance cover for the tractor and, therefore, the said insurance cover was obtained by the bank alongwith insurance cover for the other borrowers. This is also the case of the complainants/petitioners, in the consumer complaint filed by him before the District Forum, that on 17.6.2003, they had submitted an application to the respondent/Bank requesting it to give a copy of the insurance cover to them.5. We have carefully examined the reply to the consumer complaint filed by the respondent/Bank. Neither the respondent/Bank has expressly denied the averments of the complainant that the Bank had agreed to take insurance cover from time to time nor has it denied the averments that for the second year, it had informed the complainant that they had taken insurance of the tractor for the period from June, 2003 to June, 2004. Thus, there is an admission in the pleadings of the parties that the respondent/Bank had not only agreed to take the insurance cover from time to time, it had also informed the complainant that it had taken the insurance cover in respect of the tractor for the period from June, 2003 to June, 2004. Though, the contractual obligation under the loan agreement rests with the borrower to obtain any insurance cover in respect of the vehicle purchased from the borrowed money, nothing prevents the respondent/Bank from taking it upon itself to obtain such an insurance cover and that precisely seems to have been done by the respondent/Bank in this case. It is also an admitted position before us that the insurance policy for the first year is with the respondent/Bank. This is yet another proof that the insurance cover even for the first year was obtained by the respondent/Bank and not by the complainants.6. We have perused the letter dated 17.6.2003 written by the complainants to the respondent/Bank. The said letter is annexure P-2 to the complainants. In the aforesaid letter, which purports to have been duly received by the respondent/Bank under its seal on 17.6.2003, the complainants/petitioners requested the Bank to provide insurance cover in respect of the tractor purchased by them. Had the Bank not taken it upon itself to obtain the insurance cover for the said tractor, it would have immediately responded to the aforesaid letter dated 17.6.2003 by informing the complainants that the insurance cover had neither been obtained by them nor was it required to be obtained by them. By remaining silent despite receipt of the aforesaid letter dated 17.6.2003, the respondent/Bank gave an impression to the complainants/petitioners that they had, in fact, obtained the insurance cover in respect of the tractor, for the second year i.e. from June, 2003 to June, 2004. Had the respondent on receipt of the letter dated 17.6.2003 from the complainants/petitioners, informed them that the insurance cover had not been taken by them, the complainants/petitioners obviously would have themselves obtained the said insurance cover from the insurance company. Having given the aforesaid impression by not responding to the letter dated 17.6.2003, the respondent/Bank is stopped from denying this responsibility to reimburse the complainants for the loss suffered by them.7. A perusal of the invoice/bill and the receipt filed by the complainants, shows that the complainants/petitioners had actually paid a sum of Rs.1,00,316/- for the repair of the damaged tractor. The respondent/bank must necessarily reimburse the complainants/petitioners for that amount. The complainants/petitioners also paid a sum of Rs. 2 lakh for the third party accident, which the insurer would have paid, had the tractor been got insured by the respondent bank. A perusal of the receipt dated 14.8.2006 would show that the aforesaid amount of Rs. 2 lakh was paid to the third party since the husband of one of the receipents of the amount had died having met with an accident from the tractor. The total liability of the respondent/Bank, therefore, comes to Rs.3,00,316/-.8. For the reasons stated above, the impugned order dated 12.8.20013 is set aside and the respondent/Bank is directed to pay a sum of Rs.3,00,316/- to the complainants/petitioners alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of filing of the complaint till the date of payment.9. The revision petition stands disposed of.