At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. GUPTA
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & DR. P.D. SHENOY
For the Petitioner: Sonia Sharma, Advocate. For the Respondent: Nemo.
Dr. P.D. Shenoy, Member
1. This is an appeal filed against the Order of the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Complaint No. 156/90. The facts of the case in brief are that the complainant, M/s. Kerala Food Packers, the respondent in this case had taken an insurance policy for Rs. 5,50,600 to cover the breakdown of machinery with the National Insurance Company Ltd., which was valid from 31.12.1987 to 30.12.1988. The compressor was damaged due to an accident on 28 9.1988 and declared value of the same was Rs. 65,000. A surveyor was appointed by the Insurance Company who submitted a report.
2. The State Commission after hearing the parties and examining the evidence came to the conclusion that the claim of Rs. 65,000 is justified and ordered that this amount may be paid to the complainant by the Insurance Company. The State Commission had also ordered 12% interest to be paid after the expiry of three months from the date of accident till the date of payment and in addition interest at the rate of 18% per annum for the same period in the form of compensation. Further, the State Commission had also ordered Rs. 25,000 towards the loss as compensation sustained by the complainant and Rs. 2,500 as cost.
3. The Insurance Company requested the State Commission to review its order as disproportionate relief has been given to the complainant. The State Commission after hearing the parties came to the conclusion that there was no error apparent or typographical error in the order which needs to be corrected. Further, State Commission also held that it does not have the power to review.
4. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the complainant has been awarded double benefit: (a) the State Commission has awarded 12% interest for delayed payment, and (b) has also ordered interest @ 18% per annum as compensation for the same period. Further, without any supporting material, State Commission has erroneously ordered Rs. 25,000 as compensation towards the loss sustained by the complainant in addition to the cost. She submitted that this relief is grossly disproportionate to the loss suffered. She further submitted that as an Execution Petition was filed to ensure compliance order of the State Commission, the Insurance Company had to deposit the awarded amount. She pleaded that excess amount deposited may be refunded to the company.
5. We have gone through the records of the case and heard the arguments of the learned Counsel for the petitioner. The extracts of the operative portion of the order are given below.
"Since the opposite party did not settle the claim within a reasonable period of 3 months, the complainant is also entitled to interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of expiry of three months from the date of accident till the date of payment. On point (i) we find that there is deficiency in service on the part of the complainant in not settling the claim and on point No. (ii) we also hold that the complainant is entitled to interest at the rate of 18% per annum from the date of expiry of 3 months from the date of accident by way of compensation."
6. A mere reading of the order indicates that the State Commission has gene over board and has awarded double compensation to the complainant (i) @ 12% and (ii) @ 18%. We feel the ends of justice will be met if we sustain the order of awarding compensation @ 12% per annum for delayed settlement and set aside the order of awarding compensation @ 18%.
7. The last paragraph (para No. 7) of the State Commission's order reads as follows:
"The complainant has claimed that he has suffered loss and injury on account of failure on the part of the opposite party to settle the claim as he could not operate machinery and manufacture the product. He has estimated the loss at the rate of Rs. 20,000 per annum. There is no sufficient material to award the compensation claimed on this count (emphasis supplied). At the same time we are of the view that he has sustained some loss. We award an amount of Rs. 25,000 towards the loss as compensation sustained by the complainant. The complainant is also entitled to Rs. 2,500 as cost. The amounts awarded will be paid within a period of two months from today."
8. Though the State Commission held that there is no sufficient material to award compensation claimed on this count i.e. due to loss and injury o
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n account of failure on the part of the opposite party to settle the claim, the State Commission chose to award an amount of Rs. 25,000 towards loss as compensation sustained by the complainant. This, in our view, is not valid as there is no material on record. Accordingly, we also set aside this part of the order. The Revision Petition is disposed of accordingly. Excess payment made shall be refunded by the respondent to the Insurance Company within a period of four weeks from the date of this order.