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Sunita Suresh Katre v/s United India Insurance Company Ltd., Through Its Divisional Manager, Maharashtra & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = U93090TN1938GOI000108

Company & Directors' Information:- M SURESH COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U36910MH2004PTC149806

Company & Directors' Information:- J B UNITED PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U93000MH2014PTC258844

Company & Directors' Information:- J B UNITED PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999MH2014PTC258844

Company & Directors' Information:- SUNITA INDIA PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U67120WB1983PTC035866

Company & Directors' Information:- SURESH AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51900MH1941PTC003295

Company & Directors' Information:- SUNITA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U29290MH1973PTC017081

Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED CORPORATION LIMITED [Liquidated] CIN = U99999TN1942PLC003159

Company & Directors' Information:- MAHARASHTRA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Liquidated] CIN = U99999MH1936PTC002449

    First Appeal No. A/158 of 2016

    Decided On, 04 February 2021

    At, Maharshtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Nagpur

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. A.Z. KHWAJA
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. A.K. ZADE MEMBER

    For the Appearing Parties: -------



Judgment Text

A.Z. Khwaja, Presiding Member.1. Appellant- Smt. Sunita Katre has preferred the present appeal under section 15 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, challenging the order dated 30/07/2016 passed by the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia in consumer complaint No. 81/2015 by which the consumer complaint filed by the present appellant /complainant came to be dismissed. (Appellant hereinafter shall be referred as complainant and respondents as O.P. for the sake of convenience )2. Short facts leading to the filing of the present appeal may be narrated as under:-Appellant – Smt. Sunita Katre claims to be the widow of Suresh Isaram Katre who was an agriculturist of agricultural field at Mauza Kanhartola, Tah. Sadak Arjuni, District Gondia. The entire family of Surresh Katre was depending upon the income from the agricultural field. The husband of the complainant namely Suresh Katre was insured under the Farmers Janta Personal Insurance Policy for the year 2009-2010 by the government of Maharashtra for a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- through the O.P.No. 1- United India Insurance Company Limited. O.P. No. 2- Taluka Agriculture Officer was appointed by the government of Maharashtra for receiving the claim of the farmers. On 01/08/2010 Mr. Suresh Isaram Katre met with an accident when he was travelling as a pillion rider on a motor cycle and when unknown vehicle dashed to the said motor cycle and due to accident Mr. Suresh Katre succumbed to the injuries. The complainant has contended that she submitted the claim to the O.P.No. 2 on 04/02/2015 being a legal heir of her husband and since the accident had taken place during the period of the insurance policy. Complainant also provided all necessary and relevant documents for settlement of the claim but did not receive any compensation nor she received any information from the O.P.Nos. 1 as well as O.P.No. 2- Taluka Agriculture Officer regarding the status of her claim. Complainant – Smt. Sunita Katre was then left with no other option but to file the present complaint alleging deficiency in service on the part of the O.P.No. 1 and also for compensation for the mental harassment caused to her and for seeking litigation expenses.3. O.P. No. 1 has filed her written statement denying all the allegations. At the out set the O.P.No. 1 has taken a plea that the complaint is barred by non joinder of necessary party since Cabal Insurance Service Private Limited was necessary party but they were not added as a party. There is no previty of contract between the complainant and O.P. The O.P. No. 1 has taken a specific plea that the present complaint is barred by limitation as the death of deceased – Mr. Suresh Katre had taken place on 01/08/2010 and the claim was filed on 14/10/2014. The O. P. No. 1 has also taken a plea that no compensation can be granted by way of insurance as the accident had not taken place during the period of the insurance policy. For the foregoing reasons the O.P. has contended that the complaint is not tenable in law and deserves to be dismissed.4. The learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia thereafter went through the evidence affidavit of the complainant as well as documents on record filed by both the parties. The learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia also went through the written notes of argument filed by both parties. After going through entire record and considering all documents as well as written notes of argument, the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia gave a finding that the death of the deceased had taken place on 01/08/2010 whereas the claim came to be preferred on 14/10/2014 and so the complaint was barred by limitation. The learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia therefore dismissed the complaint by judgment and order dated 30/07/2016, Against this judgment and order dated 30/07/2016 passed by the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia, the present appellant has come up in appeal.5. Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate for the appellant/complainant has challenged the impugned order dated 30/07/2016 on several counts. Firstly, Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate has submitted that the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia has committed a grave error in giving a finding that the complaint was barred by limitation. In this respect it is firstly argued by Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate for the complainant that the complainant never received the repudiation letter nor received any communication from the O.P.No. 1- United India Insurance Co. Ltd. or from the O.P.No. 2- Taluka Agriculture Officer. Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate has drawn our attention to various documents filed on record so as to establish that her husband namely Mr. Suresh Katre was an agriculturist. On this aspect the complainant has placed on record not only a copy of claim form required to be submitted under the Farmers Personal Accident Policy but the complainant has also placed on record one 7/12 extract of Gat No. 208 wherein the name of the Mr. Suresh Katre is recorded as owner. Further the complainant has placed on record the copy of Mutation Entry No. 67 which shows that the name of the complainant along with others came to be recorded as legal heirs of deceased Mr. Suresh Katre. All these documents placed on record by the complainant – Smt. Sunita Katre unequivocally go to point out that the deceased Suresh Katre was an agriculturist and farmer and was cultivating Gat No. 208. The complainant has also placed on record one copy of Post Mortem Report as well as Spot Panchanama. Bare perusal of the Spot Panchanama shows that the husband of the complainant died in a road accident while he was proceeding on Suzuki Motor Cycle bearing No. MH-35/E-5888. Even the copy of the post mortem report reveals that deceased Suresh Katre died due to Head Injury and Hemorrhagic Shock. Apart from this Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate has also drawn our attention to the copy of death extract which shows that husband of the complainant died on 01/08/2010. The learned advocate for the O. P. No.1- United India Insurance Co. Ltd. has also not seriously disputed the fact that the deceased had died in a road accident but has taken a plea that the deceased was not covered by provision of Farmers Insurance Policy, but we have already pointed out from the documents on record that the deceased Suresh Katre was the farmer and had also died in the personal accident and so this contention of the learned advocate for the O.P.No. 1 that the deceased was not covered by the Insurance Policy must fall to the ground.6. Coming now to the main ground and contention raised in the written statement relating to the limitation, it is submitted by learned advocate for the O. P. No. 1 Mr. Chatterji that the accident had taken place on 01/08/2010 whereas the Consumer Complaint came to be filed on 14/10/2014. According to the learned advocate for the O.P. No. 1 the cause of action had arisen on 01/08/2010. Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate for the complainant has strongly rebutted this contention and has submitted before us that the cause of action was continues and further the same would also arise only when the claim of the complainant came to be repudiated by the O.P. No. 1. Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate for the complainant has submitted that the complainant never receive any letter or communication either from the O.P.No.2-Taluka Agriculture Officer, Sadak Arjuni or from O.P. No. 1- United India Insurance Co. Ltd. despite the fact that they were under bounden duty to do so. Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate has submitted that the complainant had submitted all the necessary documents along with the claim, which was tendered on 14/10/2014. We do find considerable force in this contention, since the O. P. No. 1- United India Insurance Co. Ltd. as well as O.P. No. 2- Taluka Agriculture Officer both have not placed on record any documents which could go to show that any letter or communication much less the letter of Repudiation was sent to the complainant. The O. P. No. 1 has merely contended that the complainant had not filed any documents to show that her husband was driving motor cycle or was having a driver licence . However, the copy of the spot panchanama along with copy of post mortem report falsifies this contention as the copy of spot panchanama clearly mentions that the accident took place when deceased was proceeding on motor cycle and offence was also registered by Goregaon Police Station vide Crime No. 52/2010 and same cannot be ignored.7. So far as the aspect of limitation is concerned, it is now well settled that the cause of action was continues in nature and would arise when the letter of Repudiation is received by the complainant. As such the contention of the learned advocate for the O.P. No. 1 that the cause of action had arisen on 01/08/2010 on the death of deceased cannot be accepted in the light of the fact that no letter of repudiation was received by the complainant. It is also pertinent to note that complainant- Smt. Sunita Katre has filed an affidavit on 18/12/2015 that she never received any letter of repudiation or rejection of claim and this affidavit cannot be ignored. It must be further pointed out that the Consumer Protection Act,1986 is a beneficial legislation and the provisions of Consumer Protection Act,1986 are for benefits of Consumer. During the course of argument Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate has also heavily relied upon one judgment of Hon’ble National Commission in the case of National Insurance Company Vs. Hukumbai Meena, (Revision Petition No. 3216/2016). In that case also the claim was to be submitted between 30 days or within 45 days from the death of the depositor and reliance was placed upon one Circular dated 20/09/2011 issued by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). In the said Circular it was mentioned that the decision of the insurer to reject a claim shall be based on sound logic and valid grounds. It is further stated that rejection of claims on purely technical grounds in a mechanical fashion will result in policy holders losing confidence in the insurance industry. Here in the present case also though the claim was submitted on 14/10/2014 explanation was provided by the complainant regarding non receipt of communication from the O.P. and same appears to be satisfactory and reasonable. One can also not forget the fact that the present complainant was widow of farmer and was a beneficiary under the Insurance Policy and therefore, this fact cannot be ignored by adopting hyper technical approach.8. Mr. U.P. Kshirsagar, learned advocate for the complainant has also relied upon series of authorities, which are as under:-i. I (2006) CPJ 53 (NC) Pravin Sheikh Vs. LIC & anr.ii. II (2008) CPJ 403 (MAH) ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Sindhubai Khairnar.iii. III (2013) CPJ 346 (NC) Nisha Mishra Vs. Standard Chartered Bank.iv. Judgment of State Commission, Nagpur in the case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Jyoti Gopal Khudaniya in First Appeal No. A/09/452, order dated 21/04/2014.9. We have carefully gone through these authorities on which reliance has been placed and in all these authorities it has been observed that the clause regarding time limit for submission of claim shall not be mandatory and cannot be used to defeat the genuine claim of claimant . Here in the preset case also the present complainant has given plausible and satisf

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actory explanation regarding the delay in lodging the claim and so aforesaid authorities squarely apply to the facts of the present case. We are therefore, of the view that the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia has not properly appreciated these aspects and has given findings which cannot be sustained in law. In the light of aforesaid discussion, we feel that findings given by the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia will have to be set aside. We also hold that the complainant- Smt. Sunita Katre is entitled for compensation as prayed along with cost of litigation as the O.P. has indulged in deficiency in service . We therefore, proceed to pass the following order.ORDERi. Appeal is hereby partly allowed.ii. Order passed by the learned District Consumer Forum, Gondia dated 30/07/2016 is hereby set aside. Complaint filed by the complainant is hereby partly allowed.iii. The O.P. Nos. 1&2 shall jointly and severally pay compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- along with interest at the rate of 10% from 14/10/2014 till its realisation .iv. O. P. Nos. 1&2 shall also jointly and severally pay sum of Rs. 15,000/- towards physical and mental harassment and Rs. 10,000/- by way of litigation costs.v. Copy of order be supplied to both the parties free of cost.
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