1. The present Revision Petition, under Section 21(1)(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has been filed by the Petitioner against the order dated 07.08.2014 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Punjab, Chandigarh in Appeal No. 1993/2010.2. The Complainant /Respondent was the owner of TATA Trailer bearing Registration No. PB-30D-8999 insured with the Opposite Party, vide Policy Number 360501/31/08/01/00000719. According to the Complainant, the vehicle met with an accident on 16.03.2009. The Complainant informed the Opposite Party and filed the claim. The Opposite Party appointed a Surveyor and Loss Assessor for assessing the loss. Though the Surveyor calculated the loss of Rs.6,18,500/- ,the Opposite Party, vide letter dated 02.12.2009 repudiated the claim on the ground that the driver was holding a fake driving licence ,The Complainant, thereupon, field a Complaint before the District Forum with the following prayer: -“The Complaint of the Complaint be accepted and opposite party be directed to release amount of rupees 6,18,500/- along with interest at the rate of 18% detailed in the head note of Complaint and further to pay rupees 20,000 on account of mental tension, harassment and agony and rupees 5500/- as litigation expenses and any other relief which this Hon'ble Forum may deem fit also be awarded to complainant in the interest of Justice’’.3. The case was contested by the Opposite Party/Petitioner before the District Forum. The Opposite Party argued that the Complainant carried on commercial activity for profit and as such did not fall within the meaning of ‘Consumer’ as under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. District Forum after perusal of the record held as follows:-“In view of the above discussion it is crystal clear that complainant is not consumer of the OP and as such the present Complaint is not maintainable before this Forum. However the complainant would be at liberty to seek other legal remedy available to it, if any. Complaint Dismissed.''4. Aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the Complainant filed an Appeal No. 1993 of 2010 before the State Commission. State Commission held that “the Report of Surveyor carries weightage unless it is proved to be wrong by the preponderance of contrary evidence on the record but there was nothing like that”. The State Commission, vide order dated 07.08.2010, allowed the Appeal with the following order: -“Consequently, the complaint of the complainant is accepted and the opposite parties are directed to pay the insurance claim amount of Rs.6,18,500/-,being case of total loss of vehicle as per the report of the surveyor, to the complainant. The Opposite parties are also directed to pay the amount of Rs.15,000/- as cost of litigation only. The Appeal is accepted of the appellant /complainant and above referred order is passed accordingly''.5. Aggrieved by the order of the State Commission, the Opposite Party preferred the present Revision Petition before this Commission.6. Heard Learned Counsel for the Parties and carefully perused the record. Learned Counsel for the Petitioner stated that Petitioner had acted as per law after getting information about the accident and immediately a Surveyor was appointed to assess the loss caused by the accident. Since the driving licence of the driver was found to be fake, the claim of the Respondent was repudiated. There was no deficiency in service on the part of the Petitioner. It was also contended that the Respondent firm was carrying on commercial activities for profit and did not fall within the definition of ‘Consumer’, as such the Complaint was not maintainable.7. Learned Counsel for the Respondent submitted that the verification done by the Petitioner was faulty, as the name of the driver was wrongly given to the verification Authority as “BICHITAR SINGH”. Learned Counsel also submitted that the Surveyor Report dated 28.07.2009 stated that said licence was genuine, renewed by M & RLA Jawali-Kangara(HP) as per the Certificate collected from M7RLA Jawali. Reliance was placed on National Insurance Company Limited vs Swaran Singh, 2004 ACJ I and United India Insurance Co. Ltd. vs Lehru, 2003 ACJ 611 (SC).8. Brief facts of the case are that Respondent’s Tata Trailer, bearing registration number PB-30-D-8999 was insured, vide Policy Number 360501/31/08/01/00000719. The vehicle met with an accident on 16.03.2009. Intimation of the accident was given by the Respondent, vide letter dated 26.3.2009. The Petitioner appointed a surveyor, who submitted a report dated 20.05.2009, assessing the total loss amounting to Rs.6,18,500/- net of Salvage basis. On the basis of the terms and conditions of Policy, the claim was repudiated as the Petitioner found the driver holding a fake driving licence.9. Regarding maintainability of the Complaint, it has been held by this Commission in Harsolia Motors v. National Insurance Co. Ltd. I, (2005) CPJ 27 (NC) decided on 03.12.2004 that since an Insurance Policy is taken for reimbursement or for indemnity of the loss which may be suffered on account of insured perils, the services of the insurer cannot be said to have been hired or availed for a commercial purpose. This Commission does possess the requisite jurisdiction to entertain a Consumer Complaint wherever a defect or deficiency in the services rendered by an insurer is made out. In view of the above, the Complaint is held maintainable.10. Hon’ble Supreme Court in India Insurance Company Limited versus Lehru 2003 ACJ 611 (SC) held as follows:-“17….Thus, where the owner has satisfied himself that the driver has a license and is driving competently there would be no breach of section 149(2)(a)(ii).The insurance company would not then be absolved of its liability. If it ultimately turns out that the license was fake the insurance company would continue to remain liable unless they prove that the owner-insured was aware or had notice that the licence was fake and still permitted that person to drive. More importantly even in such a case the insurance company would remain liable to the innocent third party, but it may be able to recover from the insured.”11. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Singh Ram Vs Nirmala & others (Civil Appeal No. 2103 OF 2018) held:-“46(iii) The breach of policy condition e.g. disqualification of the driver or invalid driving licence of the driver, as contained in sub-section (2)(a)(ii) of Section 149, has to be proved to have been committed by the insured for avoiding liability by the insurer. Mere absence, fake or invalid driving licence or disqualification of the driver for driving at the relevant time, are not in themselves defences available to the insurer against either the insured or the third parties. To avoid its liability towards the insured, the insurer has to prove that the insured was guilty of negligence and failed to exercise reasonable care in the matter of fulfilling the condition of the policy regarding use of vehicles by a duly licensed driver or one who was not disqualified to drive at the relevant time.”12. It is affirmed and settled that the insurer cannot be absolved of the liability towards the insured that the driver was not holding a valid licence unless the Insurer proves that the Insured was negligent and failed to take reasonable care in fulfilling the condition of the Policy. It is seen from the record that Motor Registering and Licencing Authority, Jawali, certified the valid renewal of the said Licence. The owner is not
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expected to go beyond the licence renewed by a Statutory Authority. The Petitioner had also not placed any evidence to establish that the Insured was having knowledge of the alleged fake licence of the driver or despite having knowledge of the same, allowed the driver to drive the vehicle. It was specifically contended that the Respondent had duly complied with the mandate of law that is (i) the driver submitted the driving licence which was genuinely renewed licence, (ii) the driver was also found competent to drive the vehicle.13. In view of the foregoing discussion, I find no infirmity or illegality in the impugned order of the State Commission, which would warrant this Commission’s interference under Section 21 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Revision Petition is therefore dismissed with no order as to costs.