1. Heard Mr. Madhurendra Kumar, Advocate, for the appellant and Mr. R.B. Shami, Advocate, for the respondents.
2. This appeal has been filed against the order of State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Maharashtra, dated 19.12.2012, passed in Consumer Complaint No. 172 of 2001, partly allowing the complaint for Rs. 90,577 for loss/damages, Rs. 5000 for the harassment and Rs.1,000 as the cost.
3. Giridhar Sampat Lanjewar (the Insured) filed Consumer Complaint No. 172 of 2001, for insurance claim of Rs. 10,22,202 i.e. Rs. 56,350 for damage of the building, Rs. 92,200 for damage of plant and machineries, Rs. 8,70,152 for damages for stock of the grains and rice and Rs. 3,500 other expenses), cost of the litigation and any other relief, for which he was entitled. It has been stated in the complaint that the Insured was carrying on the business of rice milling, in the name of Santosh Rice Mill at Tumsar, district Bhandara. The Insured was granted financial assistance by Bhandara Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd. due to which, he had to submit Stock Statement to the Bank in every month, which used to verify it. The Insured obtained an Insurance Fire Policy-C, being Policy No. 1160302/0667/2000, effective from 31.3.2000 to 30.3.2001, in respect of the building, plant & machineries and stock of the rice mill, for total coverage of Rs. 26,00,000. During 16.7.2000 to 20.7.2000, there were heavy rains, thunders and storms in Tumsar taluka. Goverdhan Tank situated in the locality of Santosh Rice Mill. Due to heavy rain, Goberdhan Tank was fully filled up and its wall was broken. As such the water of this tank was suddenly spread resulting in heavy flood in the locality. The water of the said tank entered into premises of Santosh Rice Mill and caused heavy damages to the building, plant & machineries and the stock of grains and rice, kept in the mill. The Insured immediately informed branch office of the Insurer on telephone, personally and through letter dated 19.7.2000 to 22.7.2000. Insurer appointed P.C. Gandhi & Associates, Surveyor and Loss Assessor, Nagpur, for survey and assessment of the loss on 24.7.2000. Mr. Sandip Mashru, the Surveyor inspected Rice Mill on 25.7.2000. He took photographs of the damaged articles and stocks. He collected statement of Stock Register, the vouchers of monthly purchase of paddy and sale of the rice, estimates of the repairing costs of the building, plant and machineries. The Insured submitted claim form on 7.9.2000, before Branch Manager, claiming total loss of Rs. 10,22,202. Subsequently the Surveyor asked for some more papers, which were supplied on 18.9.2000, through registered post. The Surveyor wrote a letter to the complainant dated 30.9.2000, stating that the damage was caused due to seepage as the rain water entered the premises of the rice mill through the gaps between roof and the building as well as through the windows. The Insured then met with the Surveyor and also with the Branch Manager. Then Surveyor demanded gratification for changing the report, which was not accepted by the Insured. The Insured wrote letter dated 7.11.2000 to opposite party-1 and 2 and requested for settlement of his claim. Thereafter, various correspondences were made orally as well as in written but nothing was done. Then the Insured gave a legal notice dated 24.1.2001 but no reply was given by the opposite parties. On these allegations, the complaint was filed.
4. After remand, the Insurer contested the case and filed their written statement. They stated that from the photographs taken by the Surveyor on the spot and his report dated 20.12.2000, it was proved that damages to stock was caused, due to seepage, as the rain water entered the premises of the rice mill through the gaps between roof and the building and through the windows. There was no evidence that Goberdhan Tank was fully filled up or its wall was broken and the water of this tank was suddenly spread resulting in heavy flood in the locality or the water of the said tank entered in Santosh Rice Mill premises and caused heavy damages to the building, plant & machineries and the stock of grains and rice, kept in the mill. They denied the allegation of demand of any gratification from the Insured. They stated that the Surveyor was accredited as “A” class Surveyor by IRDA of India. The competent authority was fully satisfied with the report of the Surveyor and repudiated the claim of the Insured and he was informed through letter dated 9.2.2001.
5. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, by its judgment dated 19.12.2012, found that there was no concrete evidence to rebut the report of Surveyor. The Surveyor has assessed the loss of Rs. 90,557.50. The Insured was paid Rs. 90,557 under the order of National Commission. On these findings, the complaint was partly allowed for interest @ 9% per annum on Rs. 90,557 from 7.9.2000 till its payment, Rs. 5,000 for harassment and Rs. 1,000 as the cost. Hence this appeal has been filed.
6. I have considered the arguments of the parties and examined the record of State Commission. The main dispute between the Insured and Insurer is regarding cause of damages. According to the Insured the damages were caused due to flood as due to heavy rain, Goberdhan Tank was filled up and its wall was broken, and suddenly large quantity of water spread resulting in heavy flood in the locality. The water of the said tank entered in Santosh Rice Mill premises and caused heavy damages to the building, plant & machineries and the stock of grains and rice, kept in the mill. In order to prove this fact, the Insured relied upon Panchnama executed by local Police dated 24.7.2000 and it has been stated that State Commission has illegally ignored this Panchnama.
7. The Surveyor in its Report dated 20.12.2000, has mentioned that in Panchnama, flood due to heavy rain or due to overflow of Goverdhan lake, was not mentioned. A perusal of Panchnama dated 24.7.2000 shows that only heavy rain and the damages caused to the building, machineries and stock were mentioned. As such from this Panchnama the damages due to flood is not proved.
8. The Insured has filed a copy of the Stock Register dated 31.7.2000 as supplied to The Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd., Bhandara and verified by the bank on the same day. In this document, an endorsement has been made by the Insured, mentioning that the stock was damaged as rain water had fallen through joints of the shed of the roof and gap between the roof and wall. In this endorsement, there is absolutely no averment that the rice mill premises was flooded either due to heavy rain or due to overflow of the water from Goverdhan tank. This is own document of the Insured as such the Insured cannot deny it. From the Surveyor’s Report dated 20.12.2000, it is proved that roof of Rice Mill was made of GI sheets. From this document, it is proved that the loss was caused due to falling water from the joint of the roof. Finding of the Insurer, in the repudiation
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letter dated 9.2.2001, is fully in consonance with the endorsement dated 31.7.2000, in the extract of Stock Register and does not suffer from any illegality. The damage was caused due to negligence of the Insured, for want of proper maintenance of the roof, from where the rain water fell in the Rice Mill premises and damaged stock and machineries. The repudiation of the claim of the appellant does not suffer from any illegality. The Insured has been already paid some amount either under the order of this Commission or under the order of State Commission, same shall not be recovered from the Insured as the Insurer has not filed any appeal. ORDER In view of the aforementioned discussions, the appeal has no merit and is dismissed. Appeal dismissed.