Dr. B.C. Gupta, Member
This revision petition has been filed under section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the order dated 12.03.2014, passed by the Gujarat State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘the State Commission’) in First Appeal No. 372/2010, 'United India Insurance Company versus Praveen R. Prasad & Ors.', vide which, while partly allowing the appeal, the order dated 28.04.2009, passed by the District Forum, Surat in consumer complaint No. 447/2006, filed by the present petitioners, allowing the said complaint, was modified.
2. Briefly stated, the facts of the case are that the complainants Praveen R. Prasad and Sandhya Praveen Prasad filed consumer complaint No. 447/2006 before the District Forum Surat (Gujarat) stating that they obtained a Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy on 07.04.2006 from the Opposite Party (OP) United India Insurance Company for their newly-constructed house alongwith furniture, fixtures and fittings. The policy was valid from 07.04.2006 to 06.04.2016 and the sum assured under the Policy was Rs.20 lakh. During the subsistence of the said policy, there was flood in river Tapi due to heavy rainfall from 07.08.2006 to 11.08.2006, resulting in the flood waters, entering the house of the complainants, causing heavy damage. On 14.08.2006, the complainants informed the insurance company about the loss and damage to the building and stated that there was loss of about Rs.9 to 10 lakhs. Further, the complainants hired the services of an Architect and Engineer Mr. A.R. Khan to assess the actual loss and damage to the building alongwith furniture, fixtures and fittings etc. As per the report submitted by the said Architect, the estimated cost of Civil works was Rs.3,80,000/- and the estimate of furniture and equipment was Rs.3,05,000/-, the total being Rs.6,85,000/-. The said report of the Architect was submitted to the Insurance Company by the complainants. On the other hand, the Insurance Company appointed a surveyor to assess the loss and as per the final survey report given by the surveyor Dilip Amle, the net payable amount to the complainant for the building was computed as Rs.51,200/- and for the furniture as Rs.19,498/-, the total being Rs.70,698/-. The Insurance Company offered to pay the amount of Rs.70,698/- to the complainants in accordance with the report of the surveyor, but the complainants requested the Insurance Company to review and reconsider the said amount. However, on their failure to meet the demand of the complainants, the consumer complaint in question was filed, seeking directions to the insurance company to pay the claimed amount of Rs.6,85,000/- alongwith interest @9% p.a. and also to pay a sum of Rs.50,000/- as compensation for mental agony etc.
3. The complaint was resisted by the OP Insurance Company by filing a written statement before the District Forum in which they stated that the complainant was entitled for payment of loss of Rs.70,698/- as computed by the surveyor appointed by them.
4. The District Forum after taking into account the averments of the parties, passed an order on 28.04.2009, allowing the claim of Rs.6,85,000/- alongwith interest @9% p.a. and in addition, ordered to pay Rs.5,000/- as compensation towards mental harassment and Rs.2,000/- as litigation cost.
5. Being aggrieved against the order of the District Forum, the OP Insurance Company challenged the same by way of an appeal before the said Commission. Vide impugned order the State Commission partly allowed the appeal and directed the insurance company to pay a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- as compensation as against Rs.6,85,000/- allowed by the District Forum. Rest of the order passed by the District Forum was retained. Being aggrieved against the order of the State Commission, the complainants have challenged the same by way of the present revision petition.
6. During hearing before us, the learned counsel for the petitioner stated that the factum of having obtained the insurance policy in question, and that of loss caused to them due to floods in Tapi river had been admitted by the OP Insurance Company. They had also given timely information about the damage to the Insurance Company, i.e., on 14.08.2006 itself. The Architect appointed by them had made proper assessment about the loss in question to the building, as well as the furniture etc. There was no justification on the part of the State Commission, therefore, to reduce the amount awarded by the District Forum from Rs.6,85,000/- to Rs.1,50,000/-. The learned counsel further stated that the Architect appointed by them had filed an affidavit in support of the report made by them, whereas the report given by the surveyor appointed by the Insurance Company was not supported by any affidavit. The learned counsel stated that the impugned order passed by the State Commission should be set aside and the order made by the District Forum should be upheld.
7. In reply, the learned counsel for the OP Insurance Company submitted that the report obtained by the complainants had been made by an Architect and contained the estimates of repairs only. However, the report got made by the Insurance Company was done by a regular qualified surveyor. The learned counsel argued that the report of the Architect appointed by the complainants did not provide any details about the actual expenditure made by the complainants. Moreover, the complainants had not provided any supporting documents to explain the expenditure incurred by them, based on which, the amount of claim payable could be quantified.
8. In reply, the learned counsel for the petitioners/complainants stated that it was not mandatory that they should get the entire property repaired. The payment of claim should be given to them in accordance with the loss suffered by them. It was clear from the facts of the case that there was flood water with level at 3 ft. inside their house for six days. The Insurance Company should, therefore, pay the claim as demanded by them.
9. We have examined the entire material on record and given a thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced before us.
10. A perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case brings out that the claim made by the petitioner claimants is based on the estimates of civil works and that of furniture and equipment made by an Architect appointed by them. However, the final survey report given by Dilip Amle Insurance Surveyor appointed by the OP Insurance Company indicates the exact amount of loss item-wise, as assessed by the said surveyor. As for example, the amount mentioned by the Architect for the sofa set is Rs.75,000/- whereas the surveyor has assessed the loss to the said sofa set as Rs.10,000/- only. The State Commission have rightly observed that the complainants have not submitted any supporting documents regarding the expenditure for repair of the damages caused due to floods, except an expenditure of Rs.25,751/-. The State
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Commission decided to award a total sum of Rs.1,50,000/- to the complainants alongwith interest @9%p.a. The said award had not been challenged by the OP Insurance Company. In the overall facts and circumstances of the case, therefore, it is felt that there is no ground to make any modification in the award given by the State Commission in the absence of any concrete evidence to the contrary. The order passed by the State Commission, therefore, does not suffer from any illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error and the same is ordered to be affirmed. Moreover, in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction, a reappraisal of the evidence is not required. This revision petition is, therefore, ordered to be dismissed and the order passed by the State Commission is upheld.