w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



National Insurance Company Ltd. v/s Amarjit Singh


Company & Directors' Information:- NATIONAL CO LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1917PLC002781

Company & Directors' Information:- H B SINGH PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U29299WB1975PTC030204

Company & Directors' Information:- R N SINGH & COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U27310JH1975PTC001224

Company & Directors' Information:- NATIONAL CORPORATION PVT LTD [Not available for efiling] CIN = U51909PB1942PTC000480

Company & Directors' Information:- S. SINGH AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51100MP2010PTC025020

Company & Directors' Information:- S. SINGH AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70100MP2010PTC025020

Company & Directors' Information:- INSURANCE OF INDIA LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67200WB1936PLC008634

Company & Directors' Information:- NATIONAL CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U99999MH1950PLC009913

    Appeal No. 04 of 2020

    Decided On, 17 March 2021

    At, Union Territory Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission UT Chandigarh

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE RAJ SHEKHAR ATTRI
    By, PRESIDENT
    By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. PADMA PANDEY
    By, MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. RAJESH K. ARYA
    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: J.P. Nahar, Advocate. For the Respondent: Manav Prateek, proxy for Harbhajan SinghDhandi, Advocates.



Judgment Text

Padma Pandey, Member1. This appeal is directed against an order dated 09.10.2019, rendered by District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II, UT, Chandigarh (hereinafter to be called as the District Forum only), vide which, it allowed the Consumer Complaint bearing No.722 of 2018, filed by the complainant, with the following directions: -€œi) To pay Rs.7,75,000/- i.e. the IDV of the vehicle in question to the complainant alongwith interest @ 9% from the date of its repudiation i.e. 22.05.2018 (Annexure C-8) till its realization. The complainant will also submit all the requisite documents to the Insurance Company, if any, desired by it for transfer of the ownership in the name of the company.ii) To pay Rs.5,000/- as compensation to the complainant for mental agony and physical harassment.iii) To pay Rs.5,500/- as litigation expenses.€2. The facts, in brief, are that complainant purchased Mahindra Thar from Raj Vehicle Mohali on 17.03.2016 for a price of Rs.8,39,518/-, Invoice attached at Annexure C-1.It was stated that the vehicle bearing temporary registration No.PB-65AD(T) 8562 was initially insured for one year and subsequently, it was insured with the Opposite Party for the period from 18.03.2017to 17.03.2018 vide cover note and insurance policy (Annexures C-2 and C-3). It was further stated that the vehicle, in question, was stolen on 01.09.2017 when the same was parked in Janta Taxi Stand, Sector-35/D, Chandigarh and FIR regarding the theft was registered with Police Station Sector-36, Chandigarh on 03.09.2017 (Annexure C-4). It was further stated that all the necessary documents were available with the Opposite Party including the untraced report dated 12.12.2017 (Annexure C-5) and furnished the information on 16.05.2018, as sought by the Opposite Party vide letter dated 03.05.2018 (Annexures C-6 &C-7). It was further stated that the Opposite Party had wrongly and illegally repudiated the claim vide letter dated 02.05.2018, on the ground that there was violation of Section 39 & 43 of the Motor Vehicles Act. It was further stated that the Opposite Party issued the Insurance Policy on the basis of the temporary number by mentioning the engine and chassis number on 18.03.2017, valid upto17.03.2018 and it was in their knowledge that the vehicle is having temporary number. It was further stated that the aforesaid acts of the Opposite Parties, amounted to deficiency, in rendering service.3. The Opposite Party filed its reply and, admitted the factual matrix of the case that the vehicle, in question, was parked on 01.09.2017 at Janta Taxi Stand, Chandigarh and found the same missing in the morning of 03.09.2017. It was stated that the vehicle was allegedly parked inside the parking of Janta Taxi Stand, which was in the care and control of the son of the complainant namely Sh. Jaskaran Singh and, therefore, it is liable to pay the claim amount. It was further stated that the complainant purchased the vehicle on 17.03.2016 but he made no efforts to get the same registered till the date of loss i.e. 01.09.2017 and for about 18 months, it was being plied without anyregistration and without paying any road tax to the Government. It was further stated that the vehicle was stolen on 01.09.2017 and intimation regarding the theft was given on 15.09.2017, which was violation of condition No.1. It was further stated that there was violation of Sections 39 and 43 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and therefore, the claim was rightly repudiated.It was further stated that there is no deficiency in service on its part, and the Opposite Party had prayed for dismissal of the complaint.4. The partiesled evidence, in support of their case.5. After hearing the Counsel for the Parties, and, on going through the evidence, and record of the case, the District Forum, allowed the complaint, as stated above.6. Feeling aggrieved, the instant appeal, has been filed by the appellant/Opposite Party.7. We have heard the Counsels for the parties, and have gone through the evidence, and record of the case, carefully.8. After giving our thoughtful consideration, to the contentions, advanced by the Counsel for the appellant, and the evidence, on record, we are of the considered opinion, that the appeal is liable to be dismissed, for the reasons to be recorded hereinafter.9. On-going through the records of the learned District Forum, we find that the Counsel for the appellant/Opposite Party had argued that the claim has been rightly repudiated as there was violation of Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which is punishable under Section 192. The learned Forum had taken reliance upon the judgment in Revision Petition No.449 of 2018 titled as National Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Shyam Indus, decided on 15.2.2018, which was held as under:-€œ9. In order to appreciate the contention of learned counsel for the petitioner, it would be useful to have a look on Section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 which deals with the necessity for registration. The relevant Section is reproduced as under: -€œ39. Necessity for registration.€”No person shall drive any motor vehicle and no owner of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is registered in accordance with this Chapter and the certificate of registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled and the vehicle carries a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner: Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a motor vehicle in possession of a dealer subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government€10. Bare reading of section 39 suggests that driving of unregistered motor vehicle by any person in any public place or any other place is prohibited. The section casts an obligation on the owner of the motor vehicle not to permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or any other place. Violation of this provision is an offence as defined under section 192 of the Act. Case of the petitioner is that since the vehicle was unregistered, the respondent insured had violated section 39 of the Act which is an offence punishable under section 192 of the Act.11. From the FIR No.600 dated 2.11.2011 under Section 379 IPC registered at police station Civil Lines, Rohtak on the complaint of Sandeep More it is clear that on the said date Sandeep More had driven said unregistered vehicle to €œMaina Tourism Complex€ Rohtak and parked it in the parking of the said complex. It is also clear from the FIR that subject vehicle was stolen while it was parked. No doubt that Sandeep More violated Section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 when he drove the vehicle upto the parking of Maina Tourism Complex and while driving he violated Section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act which is offence punishable under Section 192 of the Act. However, from the contents of the FIR it is also clear that the vehicle was stolen while parked in the parking of the above tourism complex. Thus, the question arises whether the commission of offence under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicle Act prior to the theft would justify repudiation of insurance claim?12. Answer to the above question is in the negative. Admittedly, at the time of insurance subject vehicle was unregistered. Despite that the insurance company provided the insurance cover to the subject vehicle without insisting for its registration, temporarily or permanent, before accepting the proposal for insurance. Perusal of Section 43 of the Motor Vehicle Act would show that even in case of a vehicle having temporary registration such a registration is valid only for a period not exceeding one month. Despite that the petitioner insurance company instead of providing the insurance cover for one month, issued the insurance policy for full one year and charged premium for an year without making it clear to the insured that in case the insured failed to get the vehicle registered within a month from the date of purchase, the insurance cover would stand withdrawn. If at all there was any intention on the part of the insurer that in the event of any single violation of Section 39 of the Act, the insurance cover to the subject vehicle would stand withdrawn, the insurance company was expected to make a clear stipulation in this regard in the insurance contract. This, however, is not the case. I have gone through the terms and conditions of the insurance contract as also the provisions of the Act. There is nothing in the contract or the Act to provide that in the event of any single violation of provision of Section 39 of the Act, the insured shall loose insurance cover if loss / damage to the vehicle is caused subsequent to the commission of said violation punishable under section 192 of the Act. Therefore, in my view, the insurance company cannot take advantage of offence under section 192 r/w section 39 of the Act committed by the insured by driving the vehicle from his residence to the hospital much earlier to the theft of the vehicle which was parked in the parking lot of the hospital. As such, the repudiation of the claim is not justified.13. Learned counsel for the petitioner has tried to justify the repudiation of the claim on the strength of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the matter of Narinder Singh Vs. New India Assurance Company Ltd. (supra). In my opinion, aforesaid judgment is not applicable to the facts and circumstances for the reason that in the said case, the insurance claim was in respect of damage caused to the unregistered vehicle in an accident, meaning thereby that at the relevant time, the vehicle was being driven in violation of mandate of Section 39 of the Act. In the instant case, admittedly at the time of theft, subject vehicle was not being driven by anyone. Thus, at the time of theft, respondent was not violating Section 39 of the Act. In view of the aforesaid distinction of facts in the matter of Narinder Singh (supra) and the instant case, the above-noted judgment of Hon€™ble Supreme Court is not applicable to the facts of this case. Similar view was taken by this Commission vide order dated 28.4.2015 in RP/3794/2013. SLP No.23878/2015 filed against said order was dismissed by Hon€™ble Supreme Court vide order dated 28.8.2015. The judgments of the Co-ordinate Bench in the matter of Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Vikram Kanda (supra) and Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Rajesh Nautiyal (supra) are of no avail to the petitioner as those judgments have been passed without noting that facts of Narinder Singh€™s case (supra) were different, as it was a case of accident of the subject car which was being driven without registration. Therefore, I am of the view that repudiation of insurance claim by the insurance company is unjustified and as such, order of the foras below cannot be faulted.14. Looking from a different angle. The basis of repudiation is that the respondent has violated the mandate of Section 39 of the Act which is punishable under section 192 of the Act. On perusal of section 192 of the Act, we find that violation of Section 39 of the Act in the event of first offence is punishable with a fine which may extend to Rs.5000/- but shall not be less than Rs.2000/- and for the second or the subsequent offence, it is punishable with imprisonment upto one year or with fine which may extend to Rs.10,000/- but not less than Rs.5000/-. It is not clear from the record whether the alleged offence of driving the vehicle from the house of the complainant to the hospital was the first offence or the subsequent offence. Thus, for the prosecution under section 192 r/w Section 39 of the Act, the complainant could be fined between Rs.2000/- to Rs.5000/-. Denial of the insurance cover to the extent of Rs.6,31,750/- for violation of Section 39 r/w Section 1192 of the Motor Vehicle Act to the complainant would thus amount to imposing a punishment much higher than the punishment prescribed under section 192 of the Act. Therefore, also, repudiation of the claim is not justified.15. In view of the discussion above, we are of the opinion that petitioner has failed to point out any jurisdictional error or material irregularity in the impugned order which may call for interference by this Commission in exercise of revisional jurisdiction. Revision petition is, therefore, dismissed€.The learned Forum had relied upon the law settled in the aforesaid judgment because in the instant case the insurance policy was issued to the complainant/respondent when the vehicle was unregistered and could not insist for its registration temporarily or permanently before accepting the proposal for insurance. Even a bare perusal of Section 43 of the Motor Vehicle Act would show that even in the case vehicle having temporary registration such a registration is valid only for a period not exceeding one month. The insurance company in the present case instead of providing the insurance cover for one month, issued the insurance policy

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for full one year and charged premium for an year without making it clear to the insured that in case the insured failed to get the vehicle registered within a month from the date of purchase, the insurance cover would stand withdrawn. Moreover, the theft of the vehicle took place when the same was parked in the Janta Taxi Stand, Chandigarh and as such the complainant was not violating Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act, because the said vehicle was not being driven.10. Last, but not the least, the plea taken by the appellant/Opposite Party in repudiating the claim by attributing delay in intimation does not stand valid in the eyes of law in terms of Hon€™ble Apex Court€™s judgment tilted as Om Parkash Vs. Reliance General Insurance and Anr. Reported in iv (2017) CPJ 10 (S.C) wherein it was held that condition regarding the delay shall not be a shelter to repudiate the insurance claim which have been otherwise proved to be genuine. In the instant case, the theft of the vehicle, in question, took place on the intervening night of 1/2.9.2017 and FIR was lodged on 3.9.2017 with the Police Station, Sector-36, Chandigarh.11. Going by the above discussion, the appeal, being devoid of merit, must fail, and the same is dismissed, with no order as to costs. The order of the District Forum is upheld.12. Certified copies of this order, be sent to the parties, free of charge.13. The file be consigned to Record Room, after completion.
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