At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Dinesh Kala, Arpit Jain, Kinjal Surana, Advocates. For the Respondent: S.N. Bohra, Advocate.
The complainant firm, namely, Ganpati Timber Store had obtained cash credit limit from State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur against hypothecation of the stock of timber. The bank had obtained two insurance policies from the National Insurance Company Ltd., for the sum assured of Rs.12 lakhs each the same being Policy No. 370/11/46/07/7500000340 and 370/11/11/07/3100000918. In a fire which happened in the morning of 5.11.2008, the goods of the complainant worth Rs.8 lakhs were allegedly destroyed. It is alleged in para 4 of the consumer complaint that the fire had taken place at the shop of the complainant in Baba Market Ajmer Road, Jaipur. On intimation being given to the insurer, a surveyor was appointed to assess the loss to the complainant. The surveyor assessed the loss to the complainant at Rs.359177/-. However, no payment was made to the complainant and the claim was repudiated vide letter dated 17.7.2009 which to the extent, it is relevant reads as under:-
“We have received the survey report of M/s Apex Assessors Pvt. Ltd. in connection with your claim for the loss occurred due to the fire at plot No.12 on 05/11/2008. The surveyor has mentioned in his report that at Plot No.12 where the fire has taken place, wooden cutting cum production/manufacturing activities were being carried out, whereas our policy was issued for covering the shop dealing in goods of various timber as per bank record.
In view of the above we came to the conclusion that the affected premises does not fall under the category of Shop/Godown but it Wooden saw cutting mill which is not covered under our policy hence the claim is not payable and we hereby repudiate the claim.”
2. Being aggrieved from the repudiation of the claim, the complainant/respondent No.1 - Ganpati Timber Store approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint.
3. The complaint was resisted by the petitioner company primarily on the ground that the fire had taken place in wooden saw cutting mill of the complainant, which was registered as a small-scale industry and had not taken place in the shop of the complainant.
4. The District Forum upheld the claim of the complainant and directed the petitioner company to pay a sum of Rs.359177/- to the complainant alongwith interest @ 9% p.a. from the institution of the complaint, compensation quantified at Rs.7500/- and the cost of litigation quantified at Rs.2500/-.
5. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the District Forum, the insurer approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Since the complainant was also dissatisfied with the amount awarded to it, separate appeal was filed by the complainant as well assailing the order of the District Forum.
6. By a majority order, the State Commission dismissed the appeal filed by the insurer and partly allowed the appeal filed by the complainant directing the insurer to pay a sum of Rs.536449/- to the complainant alongwith 9% interest and compensation quantified at Rs.25,000/-. The judicial Member of the State Commission, however, ruled against the complainant and allowed the appeal filed by the insurer while dismissing the appeal filed by the complainant. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the State Commission, the petitioner insurer is before this Commission by way of two revision petitions.
7. It is evident from a perusal of the repudiation letter dated 17.7.2009 that the claim was rejected solely on the ground that the fire had taken place in the wooden-cum-production/manufacturing unit of the complainant whereas the insurance cover was applicable in respect of the shop of the complainant where the complainant was dealing in timber of various kinds.
8. As noticed earlier, two insurance policies were issued to the complainant. The Policy No.370/11/11/07/3100000918 was a Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy issued in respect of various timber items kept in three shops. Thus the said policy covered only the goods which were meant for trading in the shops of the complainant in Baba Market, DCM Ajmer Road, Jaipur. The second policy bearing No.370/11/46/07/7500000340 was a Burglary Policy and was issued in respect of the warehouse in Baba Market, DCM Ajmer Road, Jaipur. As far as Policy No. 370/11/46/07/7500000340 is concerned, the same being only a Burglary Policy, no reimbursement under the said policy can be claimed for the loss on account of fire. As far as Policy No. 370/11/11/07/3100000918 is concerned, the policy covered only the stock of timber kept in the shop of the complainant in Baba Market, DCM Ajmer Road, Jaipur which was meant for trading. The workshop where the incident of fire happened, was not covered under the Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy taken by the complainant. Though it was alleged in the consumer complaint that the incident of fire had happened in the shop of the complainant, the said averment is clearly false since the report of the surveyor shows that the fire had happened in the workshop of the complainant where furniture was being manufactured. Therefore, it can hardly be disputed that the stock of timber which had been kept in the workshop of the complainant where furniture was being manufactured was not covered under the insurance policy issued by the petitioner. The policy issued by the petitioner covered only the stock
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meant for trading and kept in the shop but the incident of fire did not happen in the aforesaid shop. The stock of timber kept in the workshop which allegedly got destroyed in the fire not being covered under the insurance policy taken by the complainant, no claim in terms of the said policy is payable to it. 9. For the reasons stated hereinabove, the order passed by the majority of the State Commission cannot be sustained. The impugned order is therefore, set aside and the consumer complaint is consequently dismissed with no order as to costs. The revision petitions stand disposed of.