Dinesh Singh, Member
1. This Revision Petition has been filed under Section 21(b) of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’, challenging the Order dated 16.05.2018 passed by The U.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Lucknow, hereinafter referred to as the ‘State Commission’, in Appeal No. 210 of 2007 arising out of the Order dated 19.10.2006 in C.C. No. 451 of 2001 passed by The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I, Agra, hereinafter referred to as the ‘District Forum’.
2. The Petitioner herein was the Opposite Party before the District Forum, and is hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Insurance Co.’.
The Respondents herein were the Legal Heirs of the Complainant (since deceased) before the District Forum, and are hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Complainant’.
3. Heard learned Counsel for the Insurance Co. on admission.
Perused the material on record including inter alia the Order dated 19.10.2006 of the District Forum, the impugned Order dated 16.05.2018 of the State Commission and the Memo of Petition.
4. The brief facts of the case have been succinctly articulated by the State Commission, and are reproduced below:
Briefly, necessary facts of the case are that complainant took Janta Personal Accident Policy of insurance co. 880400/47/1/64213/97/4 which was valid and effective with effect from 10.04.1997 up to 10 years. On 27.04.1999 at 09.00 hrs due to dashing by some unknown vehicle he suffered injuries in his body parts on account of which he was admitted to Sri Ram Hospital, Agra for treatment. After examination done by doctors they told that due to serious injuries insured may be disabled permanently. Report of the accident was lodged on 28.04.1999 at Police Station Hari Parwat, Agra. Due to the injuries right hand and right leg paralyzed and he became disabled. On 23.05.2001 he was issued a disability certificate by Chief Medical Officer, Agra. Complainant and his uncle Sri V. K. Agarwal raised a claim with the insurance company but opposite party did not paid the claim therefore, the complainant filed a Consumer Complaint before this District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum against the opposite party to get the amount of claim. During the pendency of the Consumer insured Complaint complainant died. Therefore, the names of legal heirs were substituted.
(extracts from the translated version of the State Commission’s Order furnished by the Insurance Co. with its Petition)
5. The District Forum heard both sides, appraised the evidence, and, vide its Order dated 19.10.2006, allowed the Complaint.
For ready appreciation, the appraisal made by the District Forum is quoted below:
This fact is undisputed that deceased complainant Arvind Kumar Agarwal took Janta Personal Accident Insurance Policy from the opposite party on 14.04.1997 which was valid and effective up to 10 years.
From the treatment vouchers on behalf of complainants, applications sent to opposite party and from the First Information Report lodged it is clear that on 27.04.99 insured Arvind Kumar Agarwal received serious injuries in an accident and on the same date he was admitted to Sri Ram Hospital, Agra for treatment. It is also proved from the evidence that due to serious injuries in head half body of the injured was paralyzed and inured became unable to move and do his job. Due to disability Chief Medical Officer Agra issued disability certificate also. It is also proved by evidence that injured was treated in Delhi and Agra in which heavy amount was spent and due to the fact that inured not being well he confined to bed being disabled person and lastly the injured died.
After hearing the arguments of both the parties and perusal of evidences, in our opinion, insured/deceased/ complainant received serious injuries in accident on 27.04.1997 due to which Injured suffered permanent disability in his body due to injuries in head. Opposite party has committed breach of terms and conditions of policy of insurance not paying insured amount to insured or his legal heirs after his death and caused mental torture of the complainants.
Consumer Complaint of the complainant is accepted and opposite party is directed to pay the complainant Rs. 5,00,000/- within 45 days from the date of order. Each of the four complainants shall get equal share of amount and the amount of minor shall be kept in a nationalized bank till attaining the age of majority. Opposite party shall pay the complainant Rs. 2,000/- towards deficiency in service and mental pain and agony and Rs. 1000/- towards cost of the case.
In case order is not complied within stipulated period then interest @ 6% p.a. shall be paid on the amount of Rs. 5,00,000/- till realization.
(as per the translated version furnished by the Insurance Co. with its Petition)
6. The Insurance Co. filed an Appeal under Section 15 of the Act 1986 before the State Commission.
7. The State Commission heard both sides, appraised the evidence, and, vide its Order dated 16.05.2018, dismissed the Appeal.
For ready appreciation, the appraisal made by the State Commission is quoted below:
From the perusal of the file it is clear that complainant took Janta Personal Accident Policy of insurance no. 880400/47/1/64213/97/4 which was valid and effective with effect from 10.04.1997 up to 10 years. On 27.04.1999 at 09.00 hrs due to dashing by some unknown vehicle he suffered injuries in his body parts on account of which he was admitted to Sri Ram Hospital, Agra for treatment. Report of the accident was lodged on 28.04.1999 at Police Station Hari Parwat, Agra. Due to the injuries right hand and right leg paralyzed and he became disabled. On 23.05.2001 he was issued a disability certificate by Chief Medical Officer, Agra. Complainant raised a claim with the insurance company but did not paid the claim while the opposite party filed written statement submitting that the First Information Report of the accident was lodged on 28.04.99 but not lodged the same at the time of accident and it received the information vide letter dated 11.05.99 during the investigation information of accident was not found in the GD nor any witness was found regarding the accident.
It is the submission of the appellant insurance company that accident did not took place of insured person since he has not lodged a report with the Police Station and there is no evidence to this effect.
From the perusal of the evidences available in file it is clear that insured took treatment and a disability certificate was issued to him by the Chief Medical Officer. Regarding the disability certificate, it is the averments of the insurance company that disability certificate is for short duration but it proves that accident occurred to insured person and he was issued a disability certificate. Information of the accident at the Police Station Hari Parvat and writing of the same at Police Station is available on record by which accident is proved.
In our opinion if an accident is occurred to someone then he is not in a position to collect details of accident causing vehicle and prepare witnesses. A person in accident is helped by other passengers and accident witnessing persons go to their way by which it is very hard to know who were available at the time of accident. Insurance company accepts disability to insured and his treatment but accident is not accepted. Insurance company did not prove how insured person became disabled person without an accident.
From the evidences and documents available in file it is clear that accident occurred to insured person by which he became injured and became paralyzed afterwards he died. Since, the insured person was covered by Janta Personal Accident policy. Therefore, he is entitled to the claim under the said policy.
After careful perusal of evidences and documents available in file we conclude that the District Forum has passed proper judgment in the Consumer Complaint in question after taking into consideration of evidences fully which is legal and there is no need to interfere with. Appeal is dismissed accordingly.
Present appeal is dismissed.
Parties shall bear cost of appeal.
(as per the translated version furnished by the Insurance Co. with its Petition)
8. The Revision Petition has been filed with delay of 29 days.
9. The principal reasons for delay, as stated in paras 3 to 8 of the application for condonation of delay, are quoted below:
3. That the applicant prays that a delay of 29 days, in filing the petition may please be condoned, in the interest of justice,
4. It is humble submitted that the aforesaid delay has been caused due to obtaining the legal opinion from Panel Advocate and necessary official approval from the competent authority of the petitioner insurance company and the certified copy of order of SCDRC, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, has been delivered on 16.05.2018.
5. Thereafter legal opinion dated 24.05.18 on impugned order provided by the counsel Mr. Alok Kumar Singh Advocate.
6. Thereafter legal opinion dated 24.05.18 of Mr. Alok Kumar Singh advocate and the Head Office of the petitioner company at Chennai sent case file to its regional office who opined to file present revision petition against the impugned order of SCDRC, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, thereafter Regional Office, obtained the approval from the Head office, Chennai and sent the case file to the Delhi Regional office and Delhi Regional office appoint an advocate and after obtaining the case file and relevant details and documents for filing revision petition. Thereafter upon reading the impugned order, the present appeal was got drafted immediately. The same is being filed thereafter, without there being any further delay.
7. That the decision of filing present revision petition before the Hon’ble Commission is taken by the competent authority situated in Regional Office-I, New Delhi and having centralized legal department, but the matter was of regional office and divisional office Lucknow and Head Office at Chennai. As such after the decision of the matter by Ld. State Commission below, complete file was placed before the competent authority in divisional office at Lucknow and thereafter Head Office at Chennai and thereafter legal department at New Delhi whereby it was decided to file the present revision petition before the Hon’ble National Commission, New Delhi. All the Matters related to Hon’ble National Commission & Hon’ble Supreme Court are to be taken care by the Regional Office at New Delhi of the Insurance Company Branch divisional office at Lucknow and file was received in New Delhi office. The file has to go with various stages before place before competent authority which took time. After receiving the file from concerning Branch office & Divisional Office matter as scrutinized and ultimately after the decision of the competent authority to file the present revision in the matter Advocate was appointed and file was made available to him. Revision petition was got prepared, but since some documents was not received, revision petition could not have been filed. As soon as the said documents and pleadings was received signed revision petition alongwith its annexure was made to counsel for filing same before the Hon’ble National Commission and will be filed before your Lordships.
8. There are genuine grounds of attack to the impugned judgment/ order of ld. trial court and if the delay is not condoned, and the appeal is not heard on merits, the applicant would be put to suffer irreparable loss, which could not be compensated with other relief.
10. The Act 1986 is to provide “speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes” (Statement of Objects and Reasons). The period of limitation to file Revision Petition is 90 days (Regulation 14(1)(i) of The Consumer Protection Regulations, 2005). This Petition has been filed with delay of 29 days.
11. The stated reasons point towards managerial inefficiency and perfunctory and causal attitude to the law of limitation, they are illogical and absurd in explaining convincingly and cogently the delay in filing the Revision Petition.
12. Sufficient cause to explain the delay is not visible.
13. However, in the interest of justice, and to settle the matter on merit, the delay in filing the Petition is condoned.
14. The impugned Order of the State Commission is well-appraised and well-reasoned.
The State Commission has concurred with the findings of the District Forum.
15. Both the Fora below have weighed the evidence, and drawn logical inference.
16. Within the ambit and scope of Section 21(b), no crucial error in appreciating the evidence by the two Fora below is visible, as may cause to require de novo re-appreciation of the evidence in revision.
17. It is a proven fact that the personal accident policy in question was valid, the insured met with an accident on 27.04.1999, he suffered injuries to the head, he was treated in hospitals at Delhi and Agra, a disability certificate was issued by the Chief Medical Officer, he was confined to bed due to his disability, he subsequently expired, report of the accident was made with the Police Station on 28.04.1999, an FIR was subsequently registered after the intervention of the Superintendent of Police, on investigation the I.O. in his Final Report found the accident to be genuine. All contentions raised by the Insurance Co. thus fail.
18. The Award made by the District Forum, and as upheld by the State Commission, to pay the assured amount of Rs. 5 lakh with interest at the rate of 6% per annum, and Rs. 2,000/- for deficiency in service and mental pain and agony and Rs. 1,000/- for cost of litigation, is just and equitable (refer ‘Order’ made by the District Forum, quoted in para 5 above).
19. We find no jurisdictional error, or a legal principle ignored, or miscarriage of justice, as may require interference in the exerc
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ise of the revisional jurisdiction of this Commission under section 21(b) of the Act. 20. The Act is a comprehensive enactment for speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes and for better protection of the interests of consumers. 21. The Insurance Co., after its deficiency in service, agitated, unsuccessfully, in one, two, and now three, Consumer Protection Fora, needlessly wasting public time and monies. In the third Fora i.e. this Commission, its case fails on admission itself. This is a fit case to impose just and reasonable cost. 22. The Revision Petition, being patently misconceived and totally bereft of merit, is dismissed with cost of Rs. 1 lakh to be paid to the Complainant i.e. to the Legal Heirs of the Complainant and Rs. 25,000/- to be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the District Forum by the Insurance Co. within four weeks of the pronouncement of this Order. The Award made by the District Forum vide its Order dated 19.10.2006, and as upheld by the State Commission vide its Order dated 16.05.2018, is confirmed. The impugned Order dated 16.05.2018 of the State Commission is sustained. 23. Needless to add that in case of omission or failure in compliance, the District Forum shall undertake execution, both for ‘Enforcement’ under Section 25(3) and for ‘Penalties’ under Section 27 of the Act 1986, as per the law. 24. A copy each of this Order be sent to the District Forum and to the Complainant and to the Insurance Co. by the Registry within three days of its pronouncement.