NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

NEW DELHI

 

  ORIGINAL PETITION No.80  OF    1992

 

M/s. Atamaram Maniklal

Shanti Chamber

Opposite Dinesh Hall,

Navrangpura,

Ahmedabad – 380 009.                                        …Complainant 

 

Versus

 

The New India Assurance Company Ltd.

Head Office, New India Assurance Building,

87, Mahatma Gandhi Road,

Fort,

Bombay – 400 001.                                             … Opp. Party No.1

 

The New Indian Assurance Company Ltd.

Branch Office, 1st Floor, “Dwarkesh”.

Ahmedabad                                                           ...Opp. Party No.2

 

BEFORE :

                   HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT

                   MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER

 

For the Complainant    :         Mr.  Mritunjay Kumar Singh, Advocate  

For the Opp. Parties    :         Mr. H.L. Raina, Advocate

 

14.08.2007

ORDER

M.B. SHAH, J. PRESIDENT

 

Heard the learned counsel for the parties.

Undisputedly, the complainant has taken an Insurance Policy from the Opp. Party -The New India Assurance Company Ltd. on 25.4.1991. 

 

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A fire took place in their factory in Shri Ambika Vijay Cotton Ginning and Pressing Factory at Dholka.  It is the case of the complainant that 1250 cotton bales belonging to the claimant were destroyed due to the fire.  Complainant, therefore, lodged a claim for a sum of Rs.70,00,000/- with the Insurance Company.  The Insurance Company appointed Shri Upender R. Shah & Standard Surveyors Pvt. Ltd. as surveyor who submitted their report on 31.12.1991 and assessed the loss at Rs.8,36,524/-.  Complainant, being aggrieved from the said assessment, requested the Insurance Company for proper and adequate settlement of its loss. However, as no settlement was arrived at, complainant was required to file O.P. No.80/1991 before this Commission.

 

During the pendency of the complaint, Insurance Company appointed second surveyor, namely, M/s. Mehta & Padamasey to reassess the loss suffered by the complainant.  The second surveyor submitted its report on 19.10.1992 and assessed the loss at Rs.51,09,000/-.

 

 

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Despite the said report, the Insurance Company  offered to give compensation of Rs.8,36,524/-, as assessed by the first surveyor, to the complainant.

Hence, at the time of hearing of this complaint, at the request of both the parties, this Commission by its order dated 21.12.1993 referred the matter for adjudication by the Arbitrator Mr. Justice J.D. Jain ( Retd.) as sole Arbitrator.  The learned Arbitrator raised various issues for   determination,  recorded the evidence both oral as well as documentary.  After hearing both the parties and considering the evidence in detail, the Arbitrator passed an award on 28.7.2006 and directed the Insurance Company to pay a sum of Rs.52,28,181/-  with interest @ 12% per annum on the said amount from 26.4.1991 i.e. from the date when the claim was lodged with the Insurance Company.  The Arbitrator further directed that Insurance Company shall pay costs which was quantified at Rs.1 lac for arbitration proceedings to the complainant.  He also directed  that Insurance Company shall pay in all a sum of Rs.1 lac as costs for various fees to the Arbitrator.

 

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Against that award, the Insurance Company has preferred the objections.  On the basis of the judgement and order passed by the Apex Court in Skypak Couriers Ltd. etc. etc. v/s.  Tata Chemicals Ltd. etc. etc. [JT 2000 (6) SC 560] and the decision in case of Neeraj Munjal

and others (III) v/s. Atul Grover and another [(2005) 5 Supreme Court Cases 404],  we have decided to hear the objections.

Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Insurance Company submitted that the Arbitrator has not appreciated the documents with regard to the sale of the cotton bales in favour of other mills and has not considered other documents which were produced on record to establish that the goods were not belonging to the complainant and, therefore, impugned award is unjustified.  Secondly, learned counsel for the Insurance Company submitted that the award was passed by the Arbitrator after a long delay and the Insurance Company has not given any consent for extension of time.

In our view, the first contention that the  Arbitrator has not taken into consideration the relevant documents, is without any substance because the Arbitrator has referred to all the relevant documents which were   produced    before him and has  appreciated  the said evidence. 

 

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Under Section 30 of the Arbitration Act, 1940, the jurisdiction of the court is absolutely limited.  Hence, the order passed by the Arbitrator on merits does not call for any interference.  It is settled law that unless one

or other condition   contained   in Section 30 is satisfied, an award
 cannot be set aside.  The court is precluded from reappraising the evidence.  Even in a case where the award contains reasons, the interference therewith would still be not available within the jurisdiction of the court unless, of course, the reasons are totally perverse or the judgement is based on a wrong proposition of law. That is not the contention in the present case.

 

We would state that even the second surveyor who was appointed by the Insurance Company has assessed the loss at Rs.51,09,000/-.

 For the second contention, it is to be stated that the Arbitrator, in his award in paragraph 50, has specifically stated that arguments were finally concluded on 11.12.2004.  Thereafter, the pronouncement of the

award was reserved.  The parties were directed to file their written
 submissions   which   were finally submitted in the month of April, 2005. 

 

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Unfortunately, his health suffered severe set back which resulted into delay in preparation of the award.  Hence, he wrote  letter on 27.3.2006 and called upon respective advocates of the parties to accord their
consent for delivering the award till 31.7.2006.  It is specifically stated that he   received  confirmation and consent from the counsel of both the

parties and thereafter award was passed.  In our view,  this statement made in the award is required to be accepted as it is.

In this view of the matter,  there is no substance in the objections raised by the Insurance Company.  In the result, original petition stands disposed of accordingly.  There shall be no order as to costs.

Learned counsel for the Insurance Company states that on the basis of the order dated 11.4.2007 passed by this Commission, Insurance Company has deposited a sum of Rs.1,52,80,039/-.  Learned counsel for the complainant states that complainant has withdrawn a sum of Rs.1,46,04,530/- and the balance amount is still lying with this Commission. 

 

 

 

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In this view of the matter, it would be open to the complainant to withdraw the balance amount of Rs.6,75,509/- with accrued interest thereon.  

 

Sd/-

……………………………………J.

(M.B. SHAH)

PRESIDENT

Sd/-

………………………………………

(RAJYALAKSHMI RAO)

MEMBER