Gurmel Singh vs Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. case

Gurmel Singh vs Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. case

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4071 OF 2022
Gurmel Singh     …Appellant(s)
Versus
Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd.  …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned final
judgment   and   order   dated   03.08.2021   passed   by   the
National   Consumer   Disputes   Redressal   Commission   at
New Delhi in Revision Petition No. 2898/2015, by which,
the appellant is denied the relief of settling the claim under
the insurance policy, the original complainant – appellant
herein has preferred the present appeal. 
1
2. That the appellant herein – original complainant was the
registered owner of the Truck bearing No. CG­04­JC­4984.
The said vehicle was insured with the respondent herein –
insurance   company   for   the   period   from   22.08.2012   to
21.08.2013. The appellant also paid a sum of Rs. 28,880/­
to the respondent towards premium. On 23­24.03.2013 in
the   midnight,   the   said   vehicle   was   stolen.   A   FIR   was
immediately lodged in the Police Station Kumhari, which
was registered as FIR No. 57/13. On the same day, the
complainant also informed the insurance company as well
as the Regional Transport Office (RTO) regarding the theft
of the Truck. That after giving information regarding theft,
the appellant submitted all the documents sought by the
insurance company, but the insurance company failed to
settle   the   claim.   That   being   aggrieved   by   the   delay   in
settling   the   claim,   the   appellant   filed   the   consumer
complaint   No.   200/2013   before   the   District   Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commission, Durg, Chhattisgarh. The
District   Consumer   Disputes   Redressal   Commission
disposed of the said complaint vide order dated 03.12.2013
with the direction that the appellant herein would furnish
2
duplicate certified copy of the certificate of registration of
Truck to the insurance company within a month and that
the insurance company within a month after receiving the
same   would   settle   the   claim   as   per   the   terms   and
conditions of the insurance policy. It is the case on behalf
of the appellant that in compliance of the order passed by
the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the
appellant   submitted   an   application   before   the   RTO   for
obtaining   duplicate   certified   copy   of   the   certificate   of
registration of the Truck in question. However, RTO denied
to   issue   duplicate   certified   copy   of   the   certificate   of
registration on the ground that due to the report of the
theft   of   the   Truck,   the   details   regarding   registration
certificate on the computer has been locked. Therefore, the
RTO refused to issue the duplicate certified copy of the
certificate   of   registration   of   the   Truck.   Thereafter,   the
appellant – original complainant submitted an application
before the insurance company along with photocopy of the
certificate of registration and registration particulars, as
provided by the RTO. Despite the above, the claim was not
settled and therefore, the appellant filed a fresh consumer
3
complaint   bearing   No.   179/2014   before   the   District
Consumer   Disputes   Redressal   Commission,   Durg,
Chhattisgarh. That the said District Commission vide order
dated   23.01.2015   dismissed   the   said   complaint   by
observing that as the appellant had not filed the relevant
documents   for   settlement   of   claim   therefore,   the   nonsettlement of the claim cannot be said to be deficiency in
service. The order passed by the District Commission has
been confirmed by the State Commission and thereafter, by
the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission by
the impugned judgment and order.   
3. We have heard Shri Anand Shankar Jha, learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the appellant and Mrs. Hetu Arora
Sethi,   learned   counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the
respondent – insurance company. 
4. It   is   not   in   dispute   that   the   vehicle   belonging   to   the
appellant was insured with the  respondent  – insurance
company. It is also not in dispute that the same was valid
for the period between 22.08.2012 to 21.08.2013. It is also
not in dispute that the appellant herein paid a sum of Rs.
28,880/­ to the respondent towards premium. It is also not
4
in dispute that the insured vehicle was stolen for which a
FIR has been registered in the Police Station Kumhari on
the very day on which the vehicle was stolen. Immediately
on   the   very   same   day,   the   appellant   informed   the
insurance company as well as RTO regarding the theft of
the Truck. The appellant also produced the photocopy of
the   certificate   of   registration   and   the   registration
particulars as provided by the RTO. However, the appellant
could   not   produce   either   the   original   certificate   of
registration or the duplicate certified copy of certificate of
registration of the Truck. When the appellant applied for
the duplicate certified copy of the certificate of registration,
the RTO denied to issue the duplicate certified copy on the
ground that in view of information/report regarding theft of
the vehicle, which has been registered with the RTO, the
details regarding registration certificate on the computer
has been locked. The insurance claim has not been settled
mainly on the ground that the appellant has not produced
either the original  certificate of registration  or even the
duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration issued
by the RTO. However, the appellant did produce photocopy
5
of   certificate   of   registration   and   other   registration
particulars as provided by the RTO. Even, at the time of
taking the insurance policy and getting the insurance, the
insurance company must have received the copy of the
certificate of registration. Therefore, the appellant had tried
his best to get the duplicate certified copy of certificate of
registration of the Truck. However, because of the report of
theft   of   the   Truck,   the   details   of   registration   on   the
computer have been locked and the RTO has refused to
issue the duplicate certified copy of registration. Therefore,
in   the   facts   and   circumstance   of   the   case,   when   the
appellant   had   produced   the   photocopy   of   certificate   of
registration and the registration particulars as provided by
the RTO, solely on the ground that the original certificate of
registration (which has been stolen) is not produced, nonsettlement of claim can be said to be deficiency in service.
Therefore,   the   appellant   has   been   wrongly   denied   the
insurance claim. 
4.1 In the present case, the insurance company has become
too   technical   while   settling   the   claim   and   has   acted
arbitrarily. The appellant has been asked to furnish the
6
documents which were beyond the control of the appellant
to procure and furnish. Once, there was a valid insurance
on payment of huge sum by way of premium and the Truck
was   stolen,   the   insurance   company   ought   not   to   have
become too technical and ought not to have refused to
settle   the   claim   on   non­submission   of   the   duplicate
certified   copy   of   certificate   of   registration,   which   the
appellant   could   not   produce   due   to   the   circumstances
beyond his control. In many cases, it is found that the
insurance   companies   are   refusing   the   claim   on   flimsy
grounds   and/or   technical   grounds.   While   settling   the
claims, the insurance company should not be too technical
and ask for the documents, which the insured is not in a
position   to   produce   due   to   circumstances   beyond   his
control. 
5. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the
order passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission, Durg, Chhattisgarh, dismissing the complaint
filed by the appellant and the orders passed by the State
Commission and National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission, confirming the same deserve to be set aside
7
and   are   hereby   set   aside.   The   original   complaint   being
Consumer Complaint No. 179/2014 filed before the District
Consumer   Disputes   Redressal   Commission,   Durg,
Chhattisgarh, is hereby allowed. The appellant is entitled
to   the   insurance   amount   of   Rs.   12   lakhs   along   with
interest @ 7 per cent from the date of submitting the claim.
The respondent – insurance company is also saddled with
the liability to pay the litigation cost, which is quantified at
Rs.   25,000/­   to   be   paid   to   the   appellant   herein.   The
aforesaid amount is to be paid by the insurance company
to the appellant within a period of four weeks from today.
The present appeal is accordingly allowed.   
………………………………….J.
[M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI; ………………………………….J.
May 20, 2022 [B.V. NAGARATHNA]
8

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Questions on Indian Constitution for UPSC 2020 Pre Exam

संविधान की प्रमुख विशेषताओं का उल्लेख | Characteristics of the Constitution of India

भारतीय संविधान से संबंधित 100 महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न उतर