The present revision petition has been filed by Oriental Insurance Company against the order dated 15.05.2013 of the Rajasthan State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Circuit Bench at Udaipur (‘the State Commission’) in Appeal no.83 of 2012.2. The brief facts of the case are that the vehicle of the complainant bearing no. RJ 27 G 7468 which was insured with the insurance company met with an accident on 15.03.2003 during the currency of the policy. The insurance company got the estimation of the damage done by deputing its surveyor. Insurance claim of the vehicle was not formally repudiated by the insurance company. From the facts, it seems that due to non-approval of the insurance claim, the complainant first lodged a complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman and after that they submitted their case before the local Lok Adalat conducted by the Legal Services Committee, however, no decision was taken. Thereafter, the respondent filed the present complaint in the year 2007. The District Forum dismissed the claim on the basis of delay and on the basis that at the time of the incident, the person who was driving the vehicle, did not have the proper driving licence.
3. Aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the complainant preferred an appeal before the State Commission being FA no. 83 of 2012. The State Commission vide its order dated 15.05.2013 allowed the appeal as well as the complaint and directed the insurance company to pay Rs.3,39,783/-to the complainant for the damage to the truck.
4. Hence, the present revision petition.
5. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner. Respondent complainant was proceeded ex parte vide order dated 17.01.2018.
6. Learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that the complainant has submitted the driving licence of the driver which was issued from Jalandhar along with the insurance claim. After verification from the RTO Jalandhar, it was found that the licence was a forged one. Later when the complaint was filed, a learning driving licence was produced by the complainant and it was stated that at the time of the accident, the driver was having the learning driving licence which was genuine and the driver was authorised to ply the vehicle. The District Forum has not found even this learning driving licence to be genuine as would be clear from the following observations of the District Forum:
“Now in this complaint, the complainant party submitted one learner licence NA 8 of Suresh Kumar issued by the Licencing Officer, District Transport Officer, Udaipur and this was desired that from dated 03.01.2003 to 02.06.2003, he had learner licence. Had the complainant being truthful, then he should have submitted before the insurance company, NA 8 licence and then would have asked for claim. But he asked for claim in the name of Ramlal and this licence was never submitted before the insurance company, and then before the District Legal Services Authority, ran his claim on the basis of Jalandhar Authority. But not finding success in this, remained absent and before this Forum, submitted the complaint on the basis of NA-8. However the complainant received NA 8 from where he received, the complainant has not given any of its basis in his statement, affidavit. NA 8 is just one copy of the photo which has not been certified by anyone and this photocopy from where it has been received and how received, its basis has not been given. Even then, about its existence, report was called by the Forum about this licence from the District Transport Authority, Udaipur, then the record of this period had weeded out. Therefore, no report could come. This is the manner of the complainant to do delay for such a long time so that the above could not get and his forgery also remains successful. This we find because his earlier licence NA 6 in which there was permission to drive all types of vehicles, which was forged and that this NA 8 was submitted, then it did not match the record. Therefore, we do not have any basis before us to consider this as genuine licence.”
7. On the basis of the above observation of the District Forum, the learned counsel has stated that the complainant did not file even the original learner driving licence and photocopy could not be verified by the issuing authority, therefore, no benefit could be given to the complainant of this learning driving licence. The State Commission have also not clearly stated that this learning driving licence was genuine. It has also observed that when the records were weeded out, licence could not have been verified and in this situation the District Forum should not have treated this learning driving licence also as forged. The District Forum has given many other points on which the District Forum has not considered this learning driving licence as a genuine licence. However, the State Commission has ignored those observations of the District Forum, though, they are very important.
8. Learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that the insurance company has to verify the claim submitted by the insured and the driving licence submitted along with the claim has been found to be forged, therefore, there should not be any question of considering any other driving licence particularly, a learning driving licence.
9. I have carefully considered the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner and have examined the material on record. The driving licence which was filed along with the insurance claim has been found to be forged on verification from the RTO Jalandhar. The complainant has then produced the learning driving licence bearing no. NA - 8 which was allegedly valid from 03.01.2003 to 20.06.2003. This learning driving licence could not be verified from the issuing office as the records were weeded out. The period of learning driving licence is for six months and therefore, it seems to be logical that the record may have been destroyed. Now the question arises whether this learning driving licence could be considered for authorising the claim. First of all, if the driving licence could not be verified from the issuing office, the only verification of its being authentic was that the complainant should have filed the original driving licence which has not been produced as per the observations made by the District Forum. Moreover, this seems only an after thought when the vehicle met with an accident and the driving licence submitted along with the claim was found forged on verification. The District Forum has rightly reached to the conclusion that even this learning driving licence could not be relied upon because, neither could it be verified nor the original was filed. Another intriguing fact is that this driving licence was not produced along with the insurance claim. First of all, it is also an offence to have two driving licences and moreover, it is surprising that when the driver was only having the learning driving licence, how he could get the driving licence from the RTO Jalandhar. Thus, at the same time, the complainant cannot take both the arguments, that the driving licence submitted by the driver at the time of the accident and filed along with the claim was also allegedly valid and on the other hand learners driving licence is also being relied. Had the learning driving licence been genuine and if the driver was using this driving licence the same should have been produced at the time of accident and the same should have been filed along with the claim. However, this is not the case in the present complaint.
10. Learned counsel for the petitioner had stated that the complaint was filed with delay and the same should have been dismissed at the admission hearing. The learned counsel had stated that the accident had occurred on 15.03.2003 and the complaint has been filed in the year 2007. This clearly shows that the complaint has been filed beyond two years from the arising of the cause of action. In respect of delay in filing the present complaint the State Commission has elaborately discussed this issue and has found that there was no delay in filing the consumer complaint by the complainant. I agree to the analysis done by the State Commission and therefore, there is no need to further elaborate on this point.<
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br /> 11. Based on the above discussion, I find that the State Commission has not correctly appreciated the facts and circumstances of the present case. In my view, as the driving licence submitted along with the claim has been found to be forged, the claim has been rightly repudiated by the insurance company. The filing of the learning driving licence at a later date will not help the complainant as the same could not be verified and the complainant has not filed the original of the same. Moreover, on the basis of the reasons given above, the learner’s driving licence in the present case cannot entitle the complainant to get the insurance claim. In these circumstances, I find merit in the present revision petition and accordingly, revision petition no.3334 of 2013 is allowed and the order of the State Commission dated 15.05.2013 is set aside and the order the District Forum dismissing the complaint is upheld.