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New India Assurance Company Limited & Another v/s Arvind Bansal

    Appeal No. 47 of 2020

    Decided On, 05 August 2021

    At, Union Territory Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission UT Chandigarh

    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellants: Paul S. Saini, Advocate. For the Respondent: Devinder Kumar, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Padma Pandey, Member

1. This appeal is directed against the order dated 06.01.2020, rendered by District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I (now District Commission-I), UT, Chandigarh, vide which, it allowed Consumer Complaint bearing No.457 of 2018. The following relief was granted by the concerned District Commission :-

“12. In view of the above discussion, the complainant has produced cogent evidence to prove unfair trade practice and deficiency in service on the part of Opposite Parties. We find merit in the complaint and the same is allowed against Opposite Parties. Opposite Parties are, jointly & severally, directed :-

(i) To refund the balance amount of Rs.84,348/- to the complainant.

(ii) To pay a compensation of Rs.10,000/- to the complainant towards mental agony and harassment.

(iii) To pay Rs.7,000/- to the complainant as costs of litigation.

This order be complied with by Opposite Parties within one month from the date of receipt of its certified copy, failing which they shall make the payment of the amounts mentioned at Sr.No.(i) & (ii) above, with interest @ 12% per annum from the date of filing of the present complaint till realization, apart from compliance of directions at Sr.No.(iii) above.”

2. In the complaint case before the District Commission, it was stated by the complainant that his Tipper Truck bearing No.HR-68-A-3518 was insured with the Opposite Parties vide Policy valid from 18.05.2017 to 17.05.2018 for an IDV of Rs.6,00,000/- and during the policy, the said vehicle was damaged in an accident on 21.08.2017, resulting into loss which was estimated to the tune of Rs.94,510/-. Even DDR was registered with the P.S. Shimla West and Opposite Parties were also informed about the loss. The Opposite Parties deputed a Surveyor & Loss Assessor, who inspected the vehicle. Thereafter, the vehicle was got repaired for Rs.1,10,848/- but the Opposite Parties without assigning any reasons released only a sum of Rs.26,500/- unilaterally through NEFT on 27.02.2018. Hence, the complaint.

3. Opposite Parties in their written statement admitted the factual matrix of the case and stated that they settled the claim of the complainant strictly as per the survey report of the Surveyor and as per the terms & conditions of the policy.

4. Aggrieved against the aforesaid order passed by the District Commission, the instant appeal has been filed by the appellants/Opposite Parties.

5. We have gone through the record of the case and heard Counsel for the contesting parties.

6. Counsel for the appellants/Opposite Parties has submitted that after receipt of the survey report, the said amount of Rs.26,500/- was paid into the bank account of the complainant through NEFT on 27.03.2018 towards full and final settlement of his claim. He further submitted that it is settled law that the survey report is an important document and as such cannot be brushed aside without any cogent evidence to the contrary. He prayed for allowing the appeal and setting aside the impugned order.

7. Counsel for the respondent/complainant has submitted that the District Commission has rightly passed the impugned order and he prayed for dismissal of the appeal filed by the Opposite Parties.

8. After going through the evidence and record of the case, we are of the considered opinion, that the appeal is liable to be dismissed, for the reasons to be recorded, hereinafter.

9. The only point for consideration before us is as to whether the District Commission has rightly passed the impugned order. The answer, to this, is in the affirmative. Annexure C-2 is a copy of Policy Schedule cum Certificate of Insurance. From this document, it is proved that the complainant got his vehicle insured with the Opposite Parties vide policy No.35030831170100000473 w.e.f 18.05.2017 to 17.05.2018 and IDV is shown as Rs.6,00,000/-. It is the admitted fact that the said vehicle was damaged in an accident on 21.08.2017 and DDR was registered with Police Station Shimla West, as is evident from Annexure C-3. Intimation to the loss was also given to the Opposite Parties through agent (Annexure C-4), in which, estimate of loss was mentioned as Rs.94510/-. Thereafter, claim form was duly filled and submitted with the Opposite Parties vide Motor Vehicle Claim Form (Annexure C-5). Annexure C-6 are copies of repair estimates from different shops i.e. Ramjaan Truck Body Repair, Dashmesh Motor Mechanical Works, Lalu & Tinku Body Maker & M/s Multi Spares. Thereafter, the vehicle was got repaired, whereby, the complainant spent an amount of Rs.1,10,848/- vide copies of bills (Annexure C-7 colly.). Even the Opposite Parties appointed surveyor i.e. Truevalue Insurance Surveyors & Loss Assessors Pvt. Ltd., who inspected the vehicle and assessed the estimated loss to the tune of Rs.1,01,373/- but transferred only an amount of Rs.26,500/- in the account of the complainant through NEFT on 27.02.2018. The plea taken by the appellants/Opposite Parties that surveyor was appointed, who assessed the loss to the tune of Rs.26,500/-, which was already given to the complainant and as such nothing is payable to him. The Opposite Parties also annexed Survey Report dated 07.11.2017 (Annexure R-1) on record, perusal of which shows that Estimated Loss was Rs.1,01,373/- but the assessment was made only for Rs.26,500/- and there was huge difference in the estimated loss and assessment. Even surveyor’s report is silent as to how the huge deduction was made. Moreover, the District Commission rightly said in the impugned order that “Annexure R-1 nowhere shows that how the expenditure of Rs.14,000/- was allowed to the tune of Rs.2500/- and similarly, the amount of Rs.7,000/- was allowed to the tune of Rs.3200/- and same is the case of Rs.49,000/- to the tune of Rs.17,565/-“ Even the surveyor without assigning any reasons made huge deduction. Clearly, the said survey report is non-speaking. In New India Assurance Company Ltd Vs Pradeep Kumar (Civil Appeal No 3253 of 2002, dated April 9, 2009), the Supreme Court referred to Section 64 UM (2) of the Insurance Act and observed that even though the assessment of loss by an approved surveyor is a pre-requisite for settlement of claim of Rs 20,000 or more, a surveyor’s report is not the last and the final word. Even though it is the basis for settlement of cla

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im, it is not sacrosanct and it is not binding on the insurer or the insured, the Apex Court said. As such, we are of the view that the District Commission has rightly passed the impugned order. 10. For the reasons recorded above, we are of the opinion that the order passed by the District Commission, being based on the correct appreciation of evidence and law, on the point, does not suffer from any illegality or perversity. Hence, the appeal filed by the Opposite Parties, being devoid of merit, must fail, and the same stands dismissed, with no order as to costs. The order of the District Commission is upheld. 11. Certified copies of order be given to the parties/their Counsel free of charge.