At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. CHAUDHARI
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioners: Neerja Sachdeva, Advocate. For the Respondent: Mahesh Saroj, Proxy counsel for Rajesh Motha, Advocate.
K.S. Chaudhari, Presiding Member
This Revision Petition has been filed by the Petitioner against order dated 20.11.2007 passed by Learned State Commission in Appeal No. 1126 of 2000- Alam Ali Khan Vs. National Insurance Co. Ltd., by which while allowing appeal, order of the District Forum dismissing complaint was set aside.
Brief facts of the case are that Complainant-Respondent got his tanker No. RJ 21 G 0531 insured with Opposite Party/ Petitioner for a period of one year from 6.9.1995 to 5.9.1996 for Rs. 3,50,000/-. On 13.7.1996, tanker met with an accident and was damaged . At the time of accident, tanker was driven by Feroz Beg but actually driver was Inayat Khan. Complainant claimed Rs. 1,31,899/- towards cost for repair of the tanker and submitted claim to Opposite Party. Claim was repudiated by Opposite Party on the ground that at the time of accident, driver was having learner’s license which was not valid. Alleging deficiency on the part of Opposite Party, Complainant filed complaint before District Forum. Opposite Party resisted complaint and submitted that as the vehicle was driven by Feroz Beg having learner’s license, claim was rightly repudiated. It was, further, submitted that surveyor assessed loss of only Rs. 44,034/- and prayed for dismissal of complaint. Learned District Forum, after hearing both the parties, dismissed the complaint as barred by limitation and driver was having learner’s license. Appeal filed by the Complainant was allowed by Learned State Commission and Rs. 44,034/- was awarded as compensation against which this Revision Petition alongwith application for condonation of delay of 74 days has been filed.
Heard Learned Counsel for the Petitioner and proxy Counsel for Respondent refused to argue and had not deposited Rs. 1,000/- as cost imposed upon him
Learned Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that delay occurred as file was sent to Head Office for legal opinion and most of the papers were in Hindi language and concerned officer was also on leave for more than 15 days. For the reasons mentioned in the application, I deem it appropriate to condone delay subject to cost. Consequently, application for condonation of delay is allowed subject to payment of cost of Rs. 5,000/- to Respondent.
Learned Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that as driver of the vehicle was not possessing valid driving license and he was possessing only learner’s license, no deficiency was committed in repudiating the claim and Learned District Forum rightly dismissed the complaint but Learned State Commission committed error in allowing appeal, hence, Revision Petition be allowed.
It is an admitted case of the parties that at the time of accident, Feroz Khan, who was holding learner’s license was driving the vehicle. Learned Counsel for the Petitioner placed reliance on judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court in (2011) 9 Supreme Court Cases 438- Alka Ojha Vs. Rajasthan Public Service Commission & Anr. , in which it was held that driving license and learner’s license cannot be treated at par and further observed that a person shall not drive motor vehicle in any public place unless he holds effective driving license. Thus, it becomes clear that person holding learner’s license cannot drive transport vehicle on highway and Learned District Forum rightly dismissed the complaint. Learned State Commission in the light of judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court in National Insurance Co. Vs. Swaran Singh & Ors- (2004) 3 SCC 297, allowed appeal holding that if driver of the vehicle was having a learner’s license, the Insurance Co. was liable. Facts of Swaran Singh’s case are not applicable to the case in hand and Learned State Commission committed error in allowing appeal in the light of the aforesaid judgment. As driver of the vehicle was having learner’s license at the time of accident, which do not permit driver to drive transport vehicle on road, Petitioner has not committed any deficiency in repudiating the claim and order
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of the District Forum was in accordance with Law and Learned State Commission committed error in allowing appeal. Hence, Revision Petition is to be allowed. Consequently, Revision Petition filed by the Petitioner is allowed and impugned order dated 20.11.2007 passed by Learned State Commission in Appeal No. 1126 of 2000- Alam Ali Khan Vs. National Insurance Co., is set aside and order of the District Forum dismissing complaint is upheld.