NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION NO. 1958 OF 2004
(from the order dated 18.3.04 in Appeal No.507/03 of the State Commission, Jharkhand)
United India Insurance Co. Ltd.
Ramgarh Cantt. Branch
Prop. of M/s.Chhotanagpur Finance Corpn.
Distt. Hazaribagh Respondent
HONBLE MR.JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER
MR. ANUPAM DASGUPTA, MEMBER
For the Petitioner : Ms.Sakshi Mittal, Advocate for
Mr.Vishnu Mehra, Advocate
For the Respondent : NEMO
Being aggrieved and dissatisfied by the judgement and order dated 18.3.2004 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Jharkhand, in Appeal No.507/2003, the United India Insurance Co. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the insurance company) has preferred this revision petition. The State Commission, by the impugned order, has confirmed the order passed by the District Forum, Hazaribagh, in Complaint Case No.200/1997 filed by the complainant (respondent) for reimbursement of the loss suffered by him because of the theft of the car owned by him during the currency of the policy period. The District Forum, by its judgement and order dated 20.10.2003, allowed the complaint and directed the insurance company to pay a sum of Rs.1,65,000/- with interest at the rate of 10% p.a. from 1.1.1998 till its payment, together with a compensation of Rs.1,000/-.
Undisputedly, the policy cover is for Private Car B Policy, wherein it has been stated that the insurance company will indemnify the insured against the loss or damage to the motorcar and/or its accessories whilst thereon, inter alia, by burglary, housebreaking or theft and also by malicious act, etc. It is the case of the complainant that the vehicle was taken away by the driver for servicing but the driver neither turned up nor did he bring back the vehicle. Hence, an FIR was lodged on 6.10.1994 against the driver for committing theft of the vehicle. Simultaneously, the insurance company was also informed and claim was lodged. However, the insurance company repudiated the claim in July 1997. Hence, the complaint was filed.
The State Commission relied upon the say of the complainant that the vehicle was taken away by the driver and was not returned and that the driver was not traceable. However, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Police had registered a case under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C.) and, therefore, the act of taking away of the vehicle by the driver would not amount to theft.
In our view, this submission is without any justification because of the definition of theft under Section 378 of the I.P.C. Illustration (d) to Section 378 specifically provides that -
A, being Zs servant, and entrusted by Z with the care of Zs plate, dishonestly runs away with the plate, without Zs consent. A has committed theft.
In any case, this would be a malicious act and the policy covers such peril. Further, the exclusion clauses also nowhere provide that an offence under Section 406 of I.P.C. is excluded.
Further, in our view, this loss of the car could also be construed to be covered by the general category of malicious acts, a set of grounds used in the policy. It is a malicious act of a person who was an employee of the insured at the relevant time.
Hence, this Revision Petition is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs, as none appears for the respondent.
sra/ 17 / Court-1