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Citibank N.A., New Delhi v/s Deepanshu Kumar & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- TO THE NEW PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900DL2006PTC235208

Company & Directors' Information:- A. KUMAR AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U19201UP1995PTC018833

Company & Directors' Information:- S KUMAR & CO PVT LTD [Not available for efiling] CIN = U51909WB1946PTC014540

Company & Directors' Information:- S KUMAR AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U45203DL1964PTC117149

Company & Directors' Information:- KUMAR (INDIA) PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1986PTC041038

Company & Directors' Information:- P KUMAR & CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U27105WB1998PTC087242

Company & Directors' Information:- KUMAR L P G PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U23201DL2001PTC113203

Company & Directors' Information:- B L AND CO NEW DELHI PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1968PTC004910

Company & Directors' Information:- M KUMAR AND CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U18101DL1982PTC014823

Company & Directors' Information:- B N KUMAR & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U52341WB1941PTC010643

Company & Directors' Information:- N.A. CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45203GJ2013PTC077910

Company & Directors' Information:- NEW INDIA CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U36999TN1940PTC001776

    Revision Petition No. 3221 of 2015

    Decided On, 07 August 2020

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Suruchi Suri, Jatin Ghuliani, Advocates. For the Respondents: Vinod Malhotra, Advocate.



Judgment Text


Oral:

Late Sh. Pradeep Kumar, father of the complainants, took a credit card from the petitioner Bank. The said credit card carried a personal accident insurance cover which was payable in case of his death/total disablement on account of an accident. The insurance coverage was for Rs. 25 lacs, in case death was to be caused by a four-wheeler, whereas the coverage was to the extent of Rs.18.75 lacs if the accident was to be caused by a two-wheeler. The deceased met with an accident on 09.09.2006 while driving a motor-cycle. A claim was lodged by the complainants for payment of the sum insured under the accident cover provided to him by the petitioner Bank. The claim was repudiated by the Bank solely on the ground that the insurance coverage was to become effective on 01.12.2004 but the deceased made a telephone call on 24.11.2004 for cancelling the insurance coverage and accordingly the said coverage was cancelled by the Bank. Being aggrieved, the complainants approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint.

2. The petitioner Bank did not appear before the District Forum and was proceeded ex-parte on 19.09.2018. The District Forum directed the petitioner Bank to pay a sum of Rs.18,75,000/- to the complainants along-with compensation quantified at Rs.1,00,000/- and the litigation costs quantified at Rs.5,000/-.

3. Being aggrieved, from the order passed by the District Forum, the petitioner approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. The said appeal having been dismissed by the impugned order dated 24.07.2015 the petitioner is before this Commission.

4. The first submission of the Ld. counsel for the petitioner is that the Petitioner Bank was not served before the District Forum and, therefore, did not get an opportunity to contest the consumer complaint. I find no such plea raised before the State Commission during the course of hearing before the State Commission. The submission of the Ld. counsel is that such a plea was taken in the Memo. of Appeal filed before the State Commission. Even if this is so, the said plea obviously was not pressed during the course of hearing before the State Commission. In any case, it will not be appropriate to go into this question at this stage about 14 years after the death of the deceased. This is more so when, in my opinion, the petitioner Bank has also failed to substantiate its case on merits.

5. The next submission of the Ld. counsel for the petitioner Bank is that the policy was got cancelled by the deceased himself on 24.11.2004 and the relevant record could not be produced before the District Forum on account of the petitioner Bank having been proceeded ex-parte. Admittedly, no application was filed by the petitioner Bank before the concerned State Commission under Order XIV rule 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure to lead additional evidence.

6. An application was filed before this Commission for permission to submit additional documents. The said application, however, was dismissed by this Commission vide its order dated 24.01.2018. The order passed by this Commission was not carried to the Hon’ble Supreme Court by way of a Special Leave Petition and, therefore, became final and binding. Therefore, the additional documents sought to be filed by the petitioner Bank cannot be take into consideration.

7. On merits the State Commission rightly noted that no material had been produced before the District Forum to prove that the deceased had got cancelled the insurance coverage on 24.11.2004. Therefore, the view taken by the Fora below was fully justified on the facts available to the District Forum.

8. The Ld. counsel for the petitioner submits that the insurance policy was not produced before the District Forum. Again that would be of no consequence since the claim was repudiated solely on the ground that the insurance policy was got cancelled on 24.11.2004. The claim was not repudiated on the ground that no policy was at any point of time was taken by the deceased.

9. It is lastly submitted by the Ld. counsel for the petitioner that no premium for the insurance coverage was paid by the deceased. Even if, this is so, that would be of no consequence since admittedly all the dues were waived by the petitioner Bank before the death of the deceased. In terms of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which was applicable at the relevant time, the term ‘consumer’ means any person who buys the goods or hires or avails services for a consideration

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which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised. Therefore, even if the deceased had not actually paid the premium but had promised to pay the same and the practice of the Bank was to debit the insurance premium in the credit card statement, he would still be a ‘consumer’ within the meaning of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. 10. For the reasons stated hereinabove, I find no merit in the revision petition, which is dismissed with no order as to costs.
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