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Sarthak Kapoor v/s Life Insurance Corporation of India & Others

    Revision Petition No. 271 of 2020

    Decided On, 18 March 2021

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R.K. AGRAWAL
    By, PRESIDENT & THE HONOURABLE DR. S.M. KANTIKAR
    By, MEMBER

    For the Appearing Parties: Sunil Kapoor, Ankur Goel, Advocates.



Judgment Text

S.M. Kantikar, Member

The present Revision Petition has been filed by the Petitioner -Sarthak Kapoor (hereinafter referred to as the "Complainant") under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the Order dated 26.11.2019 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab (hereinafter referred to as the "State Commission") in FA/513/2018, wherein the State Commission partly allowed the Appeal and directed the Opposite Parties to pay interest on Rs. 20,000/- at the rate of 8% p.a. as well as to pay Rs. 2500/- as litigation expenses.

2. Brief facts of the case are that the Complainant's father took an LIC policy which insured him for future studies. The sum assured was Rs.1,00,000/- with premium of Rs.1541/-. The payment of premium was to cease after the Complainant had attained majority. At the time of first anniversary policy, the Complainant was to be paid Survival Benefit @ 20% of the sum assured. The Survival Benefit was due to the Complainant on 15.02.2016 and the Complainant attained majority on 01.11.2015. Therefore, the Complainant submitted a letter dated 22.06.2015 to the LIC of India (hereinafter referred to as the "Opposite Parties") for mandatory registration under NEFT for settling claims/benefits payable by Opposite Parties. However, even after a lapse of one year, the NEFT mandate was not registered which caused a delay of more than two months to get the survival benefits to the Complainant. It was remitted to the Complainant's account only on 12.04.2016 through cheque. It was alleged that the OPs did not pay interest for the delayed period of two months. It was violation of IRDA guidelines by the Opposite Parties amounting to deficiency of services. Being aggrieved, the Complainant filed the Consumer Complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ludhiana (hereinafter referred to as the "District Forum") to claim interest on Rs. 20,000/- for a period of 2 months; compensation of Rs. 4,00,000/-; litigation expenses amounting to Rs. 11,000/-; and exemplary and punitive costs of Rs.80,000/-.

3. The District Forum dismissed the Complaint with the following observation:

"12. Duty of LIC agent is to prepare the reports, maintain records, seeks out new clients and in the event of a loss, help policy holders settle their insurance claims. Some of the agents even are offering their clients financial analysis or advice on ways, the clients can minimize risk. This in fact is borne from the internet extraction, which is made a part of this file. If such are the duties of agents, then the representative-cum-father of complainant, being agent of Ops was bound to help the complainant, as policy holder, for settling the insurance claim expeditiously, but after guiding the complainant that he should submit the NEFT mandate on attaining majority because the policy to vest in him only after attaining majority. That duty has not been performed by father of complainant as an agent and as such fault lay with father of complainant as agent in not guiding the complainant properly.

13. As a sequel of above discussion, complaint dismissed, but with observation that in case complainant applies for registration of NEFT in near future, then it will be obligatory on OPs to register the policy in question under NEFT expeditiously."

4. Being aggrieved by the Order passed by the District Forum, the Complainant filed an Appeal before the State Commission. The State Commission, vide order dated 26.11.2019, partly allowed the Appeal and issued directions against the Opposite Parties to pay interest on Rs.20,000/- for the delayed period of two months at the rate of 8% p.a. and to pay Rs.2500/- as compensation to the Complainant. The State Commission made the following observation:

"10. Now the issue is to decide whether the delay in payment is on the part of LIC or appellant/complainant? The respondents/opposite parties in their reply filed before the District Forum by way of affidavit In para 2 has stated that the NEFT number was given by the complainant Sarthak Kapoor himself when he was minor and as per policy condition, only the proposer was eligible for registration of NEFT. So, the NEFT was not registered at that time. The amount was sent by cheque after it became due and waiting for the relevant period .

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13. Also, the NEFT request was submitted by the appellant/complainant on 30.06.2015 giving details of his account with PNB. There is no evidence that LIC has back referred the issue in reference to the acknowledgment vide Ex.C-3 to send NEFT details by the proposer as he is a minor at the time of submitting the NEFT details on 30.06.2015.

14. The District Forum without appreciating the pleadings and evidence available on the record dismissed the complaint.

15. Sequel to the above discussions it is clear that there is delay in releasing the payment by the respondents/opposite parties to the appellant/complainant. Accordingly, the appeal as well as the complaint filed by the complainant is hereby partly allowed and following directions are issued against the respondents/opposite parties:

i) to pay interest on Rs.20,000/- for the delayed period of two months at the rate of 8% per annum.

ii) to pay Rs.2,500/- as compensation as well as litigation expenses."

5. Being aggrieved by the compensation awarded by the State Commission, the Complainant filed the instant Revision Petition.

6. We have perused the entire material on record. It is apparent

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that the Complainant's father was LIC agent and he was aware of the procedural aspects of NEFT registration. Moreover, the State Commission awarded interest and litigation expenses which was just and proper compensation. Thus within the meaning and scope of section 21(b), we find no grave error in appreciation of evidence by the State Commission. We find no jurisdictional error, or a legal principle ignored, or miscarriage of justice, as may necessitate interference in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction from this Commission. 7. The Revision Petition, being misconceived and devoid of merit, is dismissed.
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