At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. DINESH SINGH
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Amit Kumar Singh, Advocate. For the Respondent: -------
Taken up through video conferencing.1. Heard learned counsel for the petitioner at admission.Perused the material on record.2. In the interest of justice, to provide fair opportunity to the petitioner insurance co., to settle the matter on merit, the delay in filing the petition is condoned.3. The matter relates to repudiation of an insurance claim re the theft of an insured truck.4. The theft took place on 26/27.10.2004. An FIR was lodged with the police. The claim was repudiated on 10.06.2005. The complainant went before the District Forum on 04.01.2006. The District Forum made its Order dated 16.04.2012, it was made on contest. The District Forum arrived at findings of deficiency in service on the part of the insurance co. and directed the insurance co. to pay a sum of Rs. 2,25,000/- along with interest @10% p.a. from the date of institution of the complaint till the date of actual payment as well as a sum of Rs. 5,000/- as cost of litigation.5. The State Commission vide its Order dated 10.10.2019 dismissed the appeal as being barred by limitation.6. A perusal of the State Commission’s impugned Order shows that no one had appeared before the State Commission on behalf of the appellant insurance co. from the last two dates. On the date it passed its impugned Order, i.e. on 10.10.2019, a learned proxy counsel was present, the learned counsel was not present. The appeal had been filed with delay of 230 days. The delay had been condoned by the State Commission subject to cost of Rs.5,000/-. For over two years the appellant insurance co. did not pay the cost to the respondent complainant. On the previous date of hearing last opportunity was given to the appellant insurance co. for payment of cost. On the date the State Commission made its Order of 10.10.2019, neither the learned counsel had appeared and nor had the cost been paid. On being asked by the State Commission, the learned proxy counsel submitted that he was not aware about the cost and had no instructions regarding it. In such facts and situation, the State Commission dismissed the appeal as barred by limitation.7. If delay of 230 days in filing the appeal is condoned subject to reasonable cost of Rs. 5,000/-, if the cost is not paid for over two years, if the cost is not paid after a last opportunity is granted, if the learned counsel is not present on the last two dates as also on the date the State Commission makes its impugned Order of 10.10.2019, it cannot be said that the State Commission has in any manner faulted in dismissing the appeal on limitation.8. The statement of objects and reasons of the Act 1986 says of “speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes”. The theft of the insured truck took place in 2004. The claim was repudiated in 2005. The complainant went before the District Forum in 2006. The District Forum made its award in 2012. The insurance co. went before the State Commission in 2013. The State Commission dismissed its appeal in 2019. The insurance co. has come before this Commission in 2020. We are now in 2021.9. The revision petition is totally ill-conceived and completely bereft of merit, it is frivolous and vexatious. It is dismissed with cost of Rs. 10,000/-, to be deposited by the insurance co. through its chief executive in the ‘Consumer Legal Aid Account’ of the District Forum within four weeks from today. It will be open to the insurance co. to recover the cost imposed as also to recover any pecuniary loss caused to the insurance co. in the matter from the functionaries responsible for the (mis)conduct of its case before the State Commission.10. The insurance co. through its chief executive is directed to make good the award made by the District Forum vide its Order dated 16.04.2012 and to deposit the cost imposed vide para 9 above within four weeks f
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rom today, failing which the District Forum shall undertake execution as per the law.11. The Registry is requested to send a copy each of this Order to the petitioner insurance co., its chief executive and its learned counsel, and to the respondent complainant, as well as to the District Forum, within three days from today. The stenographer is requested to upload this Order on the website of this Commission today itself.