Sham Sunder (Retd.), President:
1. This appeal is directed against the order dated 22.11.2013, rendered by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I, UT, Chandigarh (hereinafter to be called as the District Forum only) vide which, it dismissed the complaint, filed by the complainant (now appellant).
2. The facts, in brief, are that the complainant purchased the Policy bearing No.871634440, from the Opposite Parties, on payment of premium, to the tune of Rs.11,000/-, on 24.07.2012. The said Policy was delivered to the complainant on 28.08.2012. On going through the Policy, the complainant found many things, contrary to the verbal assurances, given to him, by the Opposite Parties. Since, the terms and conditions of the Policy were not agreeable to the complainant, he returned the Policy document, to the Opposite Parties, vide letter dated 28.08.2012, for cancellation of the same. It was stated that when no response was received from the Opposite Parties, reminders were issued, vide letters dated 28.11.2012, 28.01.2013, 06.02.2013, 19.03.2013 and 09.04.2013, but to no avail. It was further stated that the aforesaid acts of the Opposite Parties, amounted to deficiency, in rendering service, as also indulgence into unfair trade practice. When the grievance of the complainant, was not redressed, left with no alternative, a complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter to be called as the Act only), was filed, directing the Opposite Parties, to refund the amount of Rs.11,000/-, paid as premium, towards the Policy, aforesaid, alongwith interest @12% P.A., from the date of receipt of the same, till realization; pay compensation, to the tune of Rs.22,000/-, for mental agony and physical harassment; and cost of litigation, to the tune of Rs.12,500/-.
3. In the joint written version, filed by the Opposite Parties, it was admitted that the complainant purchased the Policy, in question, from them. It was stated that the complainant filled up and signed the proposal form, on 24.07.2012. It was further stated that, on the basis of the said proposal form, the complainant was issued the Policy document, on 24.07.2012. Subsequently, on 06.02.2013, the complainant sent a request for cancellation of the Policy. The Opposite Parties wrote a letter dated 26.02.2013, to the complainant, vide which he was asked to furnish specimen signatures, duly attested by the Bank Manager, in order to further investigate the case. However, the complainant failed to furnish the said specimen signatures, for the reasons best known to him. It was further stated that since the complainant failed to furnish the information, as asked for vide letter dated 26.02.2013, the Opposite Parties also sent a premium reminder intimation letter to him, on 24.06.2013. It was further stated that the Opposite Parties received the cancellation request, in respect of the Policy, in dispute, on 06.02.2013, from the complainant. Vide letter dated 26.02.2013, it was intimated that the Policy could not be cancelled, as the request for cancellation was made beyond the free-look period. It was further stated that neither there was any deficiency, in rendering service, on the part of the Opposite Parties, nor they indulged into unfair trade practice. The remaining averments, were denied, being wrong.
4. In the rejoinder, filed by the complainant, he reasserted all the averments, contained in the complaint, and repudiated those, contained in the written version of the Opposite Parties.
5. The Parties led evidence, in support of their case.
6. After hearing the Counsel for the parties, and, on going through the evidence, and record of the case, the District Forum, dismissed the complaint, as stated above.
7. Feeling aggrieved, the instant appeal, has been filed by the appellant/complainant.
8. We have heard the Counsel for the appellant, at the preliminary stage, and, have gone through the evidence, and record of the case, carefully.
9. The Counsel for the appellant/complainant, submitted that the complainant received the Policy document, on 28.08.2012, and on the same day, he returned the same (Policy document), as the terms and conditions thereof, were not agreeable to him. He further submitted that since the complainant, exercised the option for cancellation of the Policy, within the free-look period of 15 days, from the date of receipt of the same (Policy document), the Opposite Parties were required to cancel the same and refund the premium amount paid by him, but they failed to do so. He further submitted that, thus, the Opposite Parties, by not cancelling the Policy, though the option was exercised by the complainant, within the free-look period, were, deficient, in rendering service. He further submitted that the District Forum was wrong, in coming to the conclusion that the complainant did not apply for cancellation of the Policy, within the free-look period, and, as such, the Opposite Parties were not deficient, in rendering service. He further submitted that the order of the District Forum, being illegal and invalid, is liable to be set aside.
10. After giving our thoughtful consideration, to the contentions, advanced by the Counsel for the appellant, and the evidence, on record, we are of the considered opinion, that the appeal is liable to be dismissed, at the preliminary stage, for the reasons to be recorded hereinafter. The complainant filled up and signed the proposal form, copy whereof is Annexure A, on the basis whereof, the Policy, in question, was issued to him. The complainant, in the complaint, in clear-cut terms, stated that he was delivered the Policy, on 28.08.2012. This fact was not specifically denied, by the Opposite Parties, in their written version. It means that the Opposite Parties impliedly admitted the factum of receipt of the Policy document, by the complainant, on 28.08.2012. The submission of the Counsel for the appellant, to the effect that the complainant received the Policy document, on 28.08.2012, therefore, being correct is accepted.
11. The question that arises for consideration, is, as to whether, the complainant applied for cancellation of the Policy, within the free-look period of 15 days, from the date of receipt of the same or not. No doubt, the complainant produced letter dated 28.08.2012, which was allegedly written by him, to the Chairman, Max Life Insurance Company Limited, 11th floor, DLF Square Building, Jacaranda Marg, DLF City, Phase II, Gurgaon – 122002, for cancellation of the Policy. Copy of the said letter produced by the complainant, does not bear the signatures or receipt, either of any official of the Opposite Parties, or of the Agent. Similarly, the reminders dated 28.11.2012, 28.01.2013 and 19.03.2013, do not, in any way, show as to by which mode, the same were sent by the complainant, to the Opposite Parties. No postal receipt was produced by the complainant. These documents also did not show that the same were received by any Official of the Opposite Parties, by appending the signatures. Under these circumstances, the District Forum was right, in coming to the conclusion, that the complainant failed to prove through any cogent evidence, that he applied for cancellation of the Policy, on 28.08.2012, or that the reminders, referred to above, were sent by him, to the Opposite Parties. The letter dated 06.02.2013 (at page No.9 of the complainant’s documents) shows that the complainant himself informed the Opposite Parties that it was very unfortunate that the Agent had delivered above document (Policy No.871634440) on 24.01.2013, and it seemed that it was not forwarded to him (Chairman, Max Life Insurance Co. Ltd.) on 28.08.2012, through Local Office. He enclosed the Policy document, with his letter dated 06.02.2013. Since, the complainant sent the Policy document, vide letter dated 06.02.2013, to the Opposite Parties, the question of his sending the same, to them (Opposite Parties), vide letter dated 28.08.2012, did not at all arise. This factum also clearly disproves the contention of the complainant that he sent the Policy document, alongwith letter dated 28.08.2012, i.e. within the free-look period of 15 days, for cancellation of the same. Since, for the first time, the complainant sent request on 06.02.2013, for cancellation of the Policy, by sending the Policy document, the same (request) was certainly beyond 15 days of free-look period. Under these circumstances, the Opposite Parties were right, in declining the request of the complainant, for cancelling the Policy, in question, vi
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de letter dated 26.02.2013. The Opposite Parties, by declining the request of the complainant, for the reasons, referred to above, therefore, were neither deficient, in rendering service, nor indulged into unfair trade practice. 12. No other point, was urged, by the Counsel for the appellant. 13. In view of the above discussion, it is held that the order passed by the District Forum, being based on the correct appreciation of evidence, and law, on the point, does not suffer from any illegality or perversity, warranting the interference of this Commission. 14. For the reasons recorded above, the appeal, being devoid of merit, must fail, and the same is dismissed, at the preliminary stage, with no order as to costs. The order of the District Forum is upheld. 15. Certified copies of this order, be sent to the parties, free of charge. 16. The file be consigned to Record Room, after completion.