At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. GUPTA
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE DR. P.D. SHENOY
For the Petitioner: Arun S. Pandye, Advocate. For the Respondent: None.
K.S. Gupta, Presiding Member:
1. Challenge in this revision is to the order dated 1.3.2006 of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Gujarat, Ahmedabad allowing appeal against the order dated 6.3.2004 of a District Forum and dismissing the complaint.
2. Petitioner/complainant is having a factory of ginning, pressing and oil at Talaja village. It was alleged that because of short-circuit on 28.5.2001 at about 4.00 a.m. a fire broke out in the factory wherein damage to the tune of Rs. 12,40,116 was caused to the stocks and factory building. On claim not being settled by the respondent/opposite party-Insurance Company the petitioner filed complaint claiming damages together with interest which was contested by the respondent/opposite party on a variety of grounds, denying liability to pay the claimed amount. The District Forum allowed the complaint with direction to the respondent to pay amount of Rs. 12,40,000 with interest @ 9% from 1.10.2001 as also cost to the petitioner which order was set aside by the State Commission in appeal filed by the respondent Insurance Company particularly taking note of the report of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Government of Gujarat, Junagarh dated 17.7.2001 and affidavit dated 13.11.2003 of Ramhari Shahu, Investigator filed by the Insurance Company by way of evidence.
3. It was urged by Mr. Arun S. Pandye for petitioner that in yet another report (copy at pages 88 to 91) the FSL had prima facie found that fire had taken place due to electric short circuit as is the case of the petitioner and reliance on the affidavit of Ramhari Sahu, Investigator by the State Commission was misplaced. It was pointed out that as is manifest from sub-para (p) of para 6 of the written version till the filing of written version on 28.7.2003 the respondent was not sure that cause of fire was due to petroleum hydrocarbon spreaded over the cotton bales in two godowns as opined by the investigator in the affidavit dated 13.11.2003. Turning to said first report of FSL, last para thereof which is material, reads thus:
'It was observed that fire had taken place due to electric short circuit yet both the fuses and samples of burnt cotton were taken and sent to F.S.L. Junagarh to verify and confirm when fuse was out of order due to electric short circuit or not and burnt cotton had residual petroleum hydrocarbon element in it or not.'
Omitting immaterial portion later report dated 17.7.2001 reads thus :
'Seven sealed parcels marked A to G were sent for analysis:
Cloth Parcel A-It contains a piece of cotton having burnt taken from the eastern wall of the hall No. 1.
Cloth Parcel B-It contains a plastic bag having burnt cotton sample, said to be taken from near the northern wall of the hall No. 1.
Cloth Parcel C-It contains a plastic bag having burnt cotton sample, said to be taken from near the southern wall of the hall No. 1.
Cloth Parcel D-It contains a plastic bag having burnt cotton sample, said to be taken from near the eastern wall of the hall No. 2.
Cloth Parcel E-It contains a plastic bag having burnt cotton sample said to be taken from near the northern wall of the hall No. 2.
Cloth Parcel F-It contains a plastic bag having burnt cotton sample said to be taken from near the southern wall of the hall No. 2.
Cloth Parcel G-It contains a plastic bag having two fuses said to be taken from the incident place. They were marked G1 and G2 respectively by this office.
G1–It was a 16A 240 V Swastik brand fuse found intact.
G 2-It was 16A 240 V Swastik brand fuse, found fused with formation.
Method of analysis:
All the above stated exhibits were analysed separately as per standard chemical analytical methods and chromatography.
Result of analysis:
1. Residual petroleum hydro-carbons detected in the Exhibits marked A to D and F.
2. No petroleum hydrocarbons could be detected in the Exhibits marked E, G1 and G2 of the exhibit marked G.'
4. Evidently, observation in regard to fire having taken place due to electric short circuit made in said first FSL report was subject to confirmation on analysis of the samples collected and sent to the F.S.L. This report was, thus, not of any help to the petitioner. As is apparent from the revised report dated 17.7.2001, residual petroleum hydrocarbon was detected in Exhibits marked A to D and F samples collected from near the northern and southern walls of hall No. 1 and eastern, northern and southern walls of hall No. 2 (godowns). Even if the said affidavit of Ramhari Sahu, Investigator is not taken note of, the report dated 17.7.2001 fully supports the conclusion reached by the State Commission that fire was not because of electric shor
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t circuit but was due to sprinkling of huge quantity of kerosene on the cotton bails in the godowns. Decision in Sudhakar Tradersv. National Insurance Co. Ltd.,IV (2005) CPJ 25 (NC)=2006 (1) CPR 240 (NC) has no applicability to the facts of present case. There is, thus, no illegality or jurisdictional error in the said order passed by State Commission warranting interference in revisional jurisdiction under Section 21(b) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 . Accordingly, revision petition is dismissed. Revision Petition dismissed.