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M/s. Twenty First Century Media Private Limited v/s New India Assurance Company Ltd.

    Civil Appeal No. 1128 of 2019 (Arising Out of SLP (C) No. 33038 of 2017)

    Decided On, 25 January 2019

    At, Supreme Court of India


    For the Appellant: Amit Sibal, Sr.Advocate, Siddharth Bhatnagar, Debmalya Banerjee, Meghna Mishra, Rohan Sharma, Kartik Bhatnagar, A.S. Aman, Manish Sharma, Arvind Kapoor, Deeraj P. Deo, Manik Karanjawala, (M/s. Karanjawala & Co.), Advocates. For the Respondent: P.K. Seth, Manjeet Chawla, Advocates.

Judgment Text

Leave granted.

2. The appellant-Company has knocked at the doors of this Court for the reason that the insurance policy dated 15.10.2010 clearly protected the appellant-Company against floods, rains, etc., and the premium was paid on this basis.

3. It so happened that a match in Kochi was called off due to rain on 17.10.2010. As a result of which, the appellant went to the insurance company to settle its claim which was eventually settled on 31.05.2011. Apprehending that similar claims may be made in future qua other matches, the insurance company, unilaterally, by an endorsement dated 18.10.2010, deleted from the policy, the expression "floods, rains, etc."

4. On 20.10.2010, the appellant before us immediately lodged its protest against this unilateral deletion. On 24.10.2010, the match at Goa was called off under similar circumstances, owing to rain. The appellant knocked at the doors of the High Court in which it stated that the action of the insurance company in unilaterally doing away with the expression, "floods, rains", from the policy, was arbitrary and affects its fundamental right under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Both the single Judge and the Division Bench, thought it fit not to interfere as disputed questions of fact arise and as the dispute pertains purely to the realm of contract.

5. Having heard learned counsel for both the sides, we are of the view that the judgment of the High Court needs to be set aside. There is no dispute whatsoever that the action in the present case by the respondent was wholly arbitrary and violated the appellant's fundamental right under Article 14. No disputed question of fact is raised, and it is settled by several decisions of this Court that even within the contractual sphere, the State, as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution, cannot be arbitrary.

6. For this reason, we s

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et aside the judgment of the High Court. In consequence thereof, the respondent will now process the claim of the appellant so far as the Goa match is concerned. 7. The Appeal is disposed of accordingly.