w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n

The Divisional Manager, M/s. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. Represented through the Manager, Bhubaneswar v/s Sriharsa Rath & Another

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

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:- I.N. INSURANCE COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U67200DL1994PTC062554

Company & Directors' Information:- INSURANCE OF INDIA LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U67200WB1936PLC008634

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

    First Appeal No. A/89 of 2018

    Decided On, 05 April 2021

    At, Orissa State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Cuttack


    For the Appellant: M/s. P.K. Mohanty & Associates, Advocates. For the Respondents: --------

Judgment Text

1. Heard Mr P.K.Mohanty, learned counsel for the appellant on V.C.None appears for the respondents in spite of service of summons against them.2. This is an appeal filed u/s 15 of the erstwhile Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter called the €˜Act€™). Parties to this appeal shall be referred to with reference to their respective status before the District Forum.3. The case of the complainant in brief is that the complainant is a gas dealer and he purchased the policy €œLPG Dealers Package Policy€ from OP No.1 through OP No.2 for the period from 27.9.2008 to 26.9.2009 and paid premium of Rs.15,482/-. The complainant alleged inter alia that during currency of the policy, on 15.12.2008 at 9.30 P.M. while the authorized agent of the complainant was carrying the transacted cash amounting to Rs.1,94,806/- to the house of the complainant located within a short distance from the gas agency, on the way some miscreants committed theft. So the matter was reported to the police and the OPs. The complainant alleged that the police submitted police reprot after investigation as €œfacts true but no clue€.4. It is the further case of the complainant that OP No.1 deputed the surveyor who made survey and assessed the loss at Rs.31,000/-. The complainant reluctantly received the same and signed the final settlement voucher on protest. Since the consideration of the claim was not proper, complainant being dissatisfied with the settlement filed the complaint.5. Per contra, OP No.1 filed written version submitting that the complaint is not maintainable because it is barred by limitation. Moreover, it is averred in the written version that on 15.12.2008 and 31.3.2010 OP No.1 settled the claim and the complainant having received the same, no further cause of action survives to allow the complaint. Apart from this, they have deputed the surveyor who has made survey about the loss and assessed it at Rs.31,000/-. The complainant has received the same. So, there is no deficiency of service on their part.6. OP No.2 filed written version stating that the story of the complainant is not correct in toto. According to him, since the matter is between OP No.1 and the complainant, it has no deficiency of service at all.7. Learned District Forum after hearing both parties passed the following impugned order:-€œxxx xxx xxx10. In the result, the case of the complainant is allowed against OP No.1 and dismissed against OP No.2. The OP No.1 is directed to pay Rs.1,19,000/- with 6% interest per annum from the date of filing of this case i.e. from 06.03.2013 till actual payment is made to the complainant along with cost of Rs.3,000/-. The above orders shall be complied by the OP No.1 within 45 days of receipt of this order failing which the complainant is at liberty to recover the whole amounts under section 25/27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The case of the complainant is disposed of accordingly. However, there is no order as to compensation.€8. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the learned District Forum committed error in law by not going through the written version filed by the OPs properly. According to him, they have sent the surveyor and as per the surveyor€™s report, they settled the amount and paid the same to the complainant who has received the same without any protest. Apart from this, he submitted that the cheque dated 31.3.2010 was received by the complainant but again filed the complaint on 1.3.2013. According to him, the complaint is barred by limitation since two years already passed after the cause of action arose. So he submitted to set aside the impugned order by allowing the appeal.9. Considered the submission of learned counsel for the appellant and perused the DFR including the impugned order.10. No doubt the complainant is duty bound to prove the deficiency of service on the part of the OP.11. It is admitted fact that the complainant has purchased the LPG Dealers Package Policy from OP No.1. It is not in dispute that during currency of the policy the complainant€™s agent while going with cash of Rs.1,94,806/-, a rubbery of said cash was committed. It is not in dispute that police has been informed immediately and filed the final report €œfact true but no clue€. It is not in dispute that OP No.1 sent the surveyor who made survey and found the loss and fixed the loss at Rs.31,000/-. Copy of the cheque is also available in the record to shows that it has been paid to OP No.2 for crediting same in the account of the complainant. It is admitted fact that OP No.2 is a financer and has extended borrowing money to start some business.12. Complainant has only alleged that he is not satisfied with the settlement of losses and has received the cheque for Rs.31,000/- reluctantly or by making protest. On perusal of record, it does not appear that he has made any protest towards settlement of claim for Rs.31,000/-. Thus, there is reason to believe that the complainant after receiving Rs.31,000/- gave a second thought to ask for rest of the amount claimed by him against the insurer. It is well settled in law by the Hon€™ble Apex Court in the case of United India Insurance Co.Ltd. vrs. Antique Art Exports Pvt.Ltd. passed in Civil Appeal No.(s) 3284 of 2019 & 3285 of 2019 where Their Lordships have observed as follows:-€œxxx xxx xxxIn the instant case, prima facie no dispute subsisted after the discharge voucher being signed by the respondent without any demur or protest and claim being finally settled with accord and satisfaction and after 11 weeks of the settlement of claim a letter was sent on 27th July, 2016 for the first time raising a voice in the form of protest that the discharge voucher was signed under undue influence and coercion with no supportive prima facie evidence being placed on record in absence thereof, it must follow that the claim had been settled with accord and satisfaction leaving no arbitral dispute subsisting under the agreement to be referred to the Arbitrator for adjudication.€13. With due regard to the aforesaid decision when there is final settlement towards payment of the compensation with discharge voucher signed and the complainant has received the same without any protest or undue influence or coercion, the consumer complaint cannot be filed subsequently for deficiency of service on the part of the OP.14. It is revealed from the record that the cheque was paid on 31.3.2010 but the complaint was filed

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on 1.3.2013. As per section 24A of the Act the complaint is to be filed within two years from the date of cause of action arose. Since the complaint is filed two years after the payment of the cheque towards full and final settlement of the amount, it is barred by limitation u/s 24A of the Act. The learned District Forum has not considered the above aspect. Therefore, this Commission do not agree with the finding of the learned District Forum, as such it is set aside.15. The appeal stands allowed. No cost.The statutory amount deposited be refunded to the appellant with interest accrued thereon, if any on proper identification.DFR be sent back forthwith.Free copy of this order be supplied to both the parties.