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New India Assurance Company Ltd. Through Its Duly Constituted Attorney, Manager, Delhi v/s Chaman Lal


Company & Directors' Information:- THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = L66000MH1919GOI000526

Company & Directors' Information:- THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = L99999MH1919GOI000526

Company & Directors' Information:- THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = U99999MH1919GOI000526

Company & Directors' Information:- C. LAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909HR2012PLC046499

Company & Directors' Information:- CHAMAN INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U35921DL1998PTC096474

    Revision Petition No. 2384 of 2019

    Decided On, 14 February 2020

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE DEEPA SHARMA
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. C. VISWANATH
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Abhishek Kumar, Advocate. For the Respondent: -------



Judgment Text


1. The present Revision Petition is filed by the Petitioner under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against Order passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Haryana (hereinafter referred to as the “State Commission”) in Appeal No. 488/2019 dated 05.07.2019.

2. In the Complaint Case, it was stated that the Respondent/Complainant was the registered owner of Escorts Tractor-Trolley bearing Registration No. HR-01W-1557 and the same was insured with the Petitioner/Opposite Party, vide policy No. 35350231100100003257 (standard-commercial vehicle package policy valid from 16.07.2010 to 15.07.2011. Unfortunately, on 01.03.2011, the said tractor trolley met with an accident and got totally damaged. Intimation was given to the Petitioner stating all the facts that the car driver received fatal injuries in the said accident, the tractor trolley was taken in possession by the police and was released on superdari after a long delay. After getting the said tractor trolley released on superdari, the Respondent got the cost of repairs assessed from S.B. Trading Company and Jagdev Steel Works. The total estimated cost of repair was Rs. 6,23,207/-. The Respondent lodged the claim with the Petitioner but the claim was not settled. Hence, the Complaint was filed.

3. The Petitioner filed Written Statement in which it was stated that the Complaint was not maintainable as there is no relationship of consumer between the parties. Moreover, the Complainant does not come under the preview of the Consumer Protection Act since the alleged insured vehicle was admittedly being used for commercial purposes only. On merits, it was stated that the Respondent himself was responsible for non-payment of the claim as the Respondent failed to supply the estimate of repair, despite receipt of letter dated 20.06.2011, 24.08.2011, 02.11.2011 and 17.01.2011. He did not produce the tractor trolley for survey and never informed about the condition and fate of the tractor. Thus, under these circumstances, the Opposite Party had no option but to close the file as “No claim”. The earlier complaint was disposed of with the direction to the Respondent to submit the required documents. After going through the complete set of documents submitted by the Respondent and considering the claim again according to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy, the competent authority, repudiated the claim as the tractor was being used for commercial purposes, in violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy and in contravention of the Motor Vehicle Act, as the same was registered and insured only for agricultural purposes. The claim of the Respondent was again considered and repudiated in the light of investigation conducted by the investigator, who confirmed that at the time of the said alleged loss, the said tractor trolley was being used for business. Thus, there was no deficiency in service on the part of the Petitioner and prayed for the dismissal of the present Complaint.

4. District Forum, vide order dated 20.03.2019, allowed the Complaint and directed the Petitioner/Opposite Party to pay Rs. 2,85,000/- to the Respondent/Complainant along with interest @7% per annum w.e.f. 16.05.2018 i.e. the date of repudiation of the claim till its realization, Rs. 5,000/- as compensation and Rs. 3,000 towards litigation expenses. The Petitioner/Opposite Party was further directed to comply with the order within the period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the certified copy of this order, failing which Opposite Party shall pay interest @9% per annum on the awarded amount, besides litigation cost for the period of default.

5. Being aggrieved of the order passed by the District Forum, the Petitioner filed an Appeal before the State Commission. State Commission, vide order dated 05.07.2019, dismissed the appeal of the Petitioner and confirmed the order passed by the District Forum. by the order of State Commission, Petitioner filed the Revision Petition before this Commission.

6. Heard the Learned Counsel for the Petitioner. We have also carefully gone through the evidence placed on record. The Petitioner in his written statement contended that the Complaint is not maintainable as there is no relationship of consumer between the parties. The Respondent/Complainant does not come under the preview of Consumer Protection Act since the said vehicle is used for commercial purpose.

7. The Respondent has insured the said vehicle with the Petitioner in order to indemnify the loss and such is a Consumer as per the Consumer Protection Act. It has been held by this Commission in Harsolia Motors Vs. 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 for the loss which may suffer 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, therefore, 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. Thus, the Respondent/complainant can be said to be a consumer as defined in Section 2(1) (d) of the Consumer Protection Act .

The tractor trolley was duly insured with the Opposite Party, from 16.07.2010 to 15.07.2011. From the FIR dated 03.03.2011, it is apparent that the said tractor trolley met with an accident on 01.03.2011 during the period it was insured. The Opposite Party repudiated the claim of the Complainant vide letter dated 16.05.2018, on the ground that the tractor trolley was being used exclusively by the sons of the Complainant for business purpose in the Firm M/s Mangla Sales Enterprises. Even the Complainant failed to produce the tractor trolley for survey and assessment of the loss. In the repudiation letter it was stated that the Opposite party repudiated the claim after perusal of the documents and on the basis of investigation report. However, no investigation report has been placed on record by the Opposite Party. No other document has also been produced by the Opposite Party to prove that the tractor trolley was being used for purposes other than agriculture. Thus, in the absence of any cogent and convincing evidence, the Opposite Party failed to prove that the tractor trolley was being used for commercial purposes. From a copy of the judgement dated 025 of the JMIC, Dera Bassi, it is apparent that the tractor trolley was taken possession by the police after the accident. The Opposite Party should have directed the surveyor/ investigator so appointed by it, to conduct the survey/investigation of the tractor trolley at the police station with the permission of police authorities and to assess the loss. Not doing so, the Opposite Party cannot blame the Respondent/Complainant for not producing the tractor trolley for survey. Taking all these facts and circumstances into consideration, we are of the view that the Opposite Party was not right in repudiating the claim of the Complainant and is liable to indemnify the Complainant for the loss suffered by him as per the policy. As to the quantum of indemnification, the plea of the Complainant was that the insurance company was liable to pay repair charges of Rs.6,23,207/-, as assessed by S.D. Trading Corporation as it was a case of total loss. The plea of the Complainant that the Opposite Party was liable to indemnify to him to extent of Rs. 6,23,207/- is not tenable, as the insurance company is not liable to indemnify the insured more than the IDV of the vehicle. From a perusal of the policy documents, it is revealed that the IDV of the impugned tractor trolley was Rs. 2,85,000/-. The insurance company/Opposite Party is therefore liable to pay Rs. 2,85,000/- to the Complainant alongwith interest. The Opposite Party is liable to compensate the Complainant for the mental agony and physical harassment caused to him alongwith litigation expenses.

8. This Commission under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has limited jurisdiction. It is not required to re-assess or re-appreciate the evidence and reach to its own independent conclusion, Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rubi (Chandra) Dutta Vs. M/s United India Insurance Co. Ltd. 2011(3) Scale 654 has held as under:

“Also, it is to be noted that the revisional powers of the National Commission are derived from Section 21(b) of the Act, under which the said power cane be exercised only if there is some prima facie jurisdictional error appearing in the impugned order,

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and only then, may the same be set aside. In our considered opinion there was no jurisdictional error or miscarriage of justice, which could have warranted the National Commission to have taken a different view than what was taken by the two Forums. The decision of the National Commission rests not on the basis of some legal principle that was ignored by the Courts below, but on a different (and in our opinion, an erroneous) interpretation of the same sets of facts. This is not the manner in which revisional powers should be invoked. In this view of the matter, we are of the considered opinion that the jurisdiction conferred on the National Commission under Section 21 (b) of the Act has been transgressed. It was not a case where such a view could have been taken by setting aside the concurrent findings of two fora”. 9. In view of the above, and there being no illegality or infirmity in the impugned order, the Revision Petition is dismissed.
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