National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
(From the order dated 7.7.2005 in Appeal Nos. 1523 of 2002 and 1523-A of 2002 of the State Commission, Maharashtra)
Shahenn Khan,D/s. Mubassir Alam Khan,
R/o Maliwada, Distt. Aurangabad
Her G.P.A. Holder Mr.M.A.Khan,
H.No.1-15-54, Deodi Bazar,
Aurangbad 431 001, Maharashtra Petitioner
Oriental Insurance Company Ltd.,
Its Manager. Respondent
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE M.B.SHAH, PRESIDENT.
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER.
For the Petitioner : Mr. Vijay Kumar Yetnoorkar,Advocate.
For the Respondent : Mr. Kishore Rawat, Advocate.
M.B.SHAH, J. PRESIDENT.
Heard the learned Counsel for the parties. This Revision Petition is filed against the Judgment and Order dated 7.7.2005 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra in Appeal Nos. 1523 of 2002 and 1523-A of 2002.
After appreciating the evidence which was produced on record, the District Forum, Aurangabad, by its Judgment and Order dated 23rd July, 2002 allowed the complaint ADCRF/CDR No. 2 of 2001 filed by the Petitioner and directed the Insurance Company to pay the balance amount of Rs.1,20,500/- with interest at the rate of 12% p.a. from 23.3.2000. Against that order the Insurance Company preferred Appeal No. 1523 of 2002 praying for setting aside the order of the District Forum. The Complainant also preferred Appeal No. 1523-A of 2002 against the order of the District Forum for enhancement of compensation.
The State Commission allowed the appeal filed by the Insurance Company and set aside the order passed by the District Forum solely on the ground that the Complainant had accepted the amount of Rs.1.49,500/- by signing the discharge voucher voluntarily. Against that order, this Revision Petition is filed.
At the time of hearing of the Revision Petition, learned Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that the order passed by the State Commission, on the face of it, is erroneous as the State Commission has failed to consider the discharge voucher dated 23.3.2000 wherein the Complainant has signed it and had specifically stated that the amount was accepted under protest.
On this aspect, the learned Counsel for the Insurance Company failed to point out anything contrary.
However, learned Counsel Mr.Rawat submitted that as per the survey report the Ambassadar Car was stolen on 16.3.1999; the vehicle was purchased on 17.7.1997 and was used as a tourist taxi; considering the fact that the vehicle was being used as a tourist taxi and also the prevailing market value, the Surveyor assessed the loss at Rs.2,35,000/-. He further submitted that there is no reason to disbelieve or discard the Surveyors report.
Against this, the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Complainant submitted that the insurance policy was taken for a sum of Rs.3 lakhs and, therefore, on that basis, the District Forum has considered its value at Rs.2,70,000/-. He also points out that on the said car the Complainant has taken a loan for a sum of Rs.2,85,000/- and she was required to pay monthly instalment of Rs.4,000/- to the Bank.
From the record it is apparent that for the reasons best known to the officers of the Insurance Company :
(a) the survey report was not produced on record before the District Forum or the State Commission;
(b) it was not proper for the Insurance Company to withhold the relevant evidence and to suppress the same; and,
(c) in any set of circumstances, when the Surveyor has assessed the loss at Rs.2,35,000/- there was no justifiable reason to coerce the insured to accept only Rs.1,49,500/-.
Further, it is apparent on record that for purchasing the vehicle, the Complainant was required to take a loan of Rs.2,85,000/- from the bank. She was required to pay monthly instalments with interest. The Surveyor has not seen the vehicle, and, therefore, it would be difficult to arrive at the conclusion that the loss assessed by the Surveyor would be just and reasonable. As against this, the loss assessed by the District Forum is after considering the fact that the Complainant has purchased new Ambassador Car for a sum of Rs.3,35,500/-. It was stolen within a period of 20 months from the date of the purchase; and, that the assured sum was Rs.3 lakhs. Hence, the loss was assessed on the basis of depreciation table provided by the Insurance Company, and, the loss was assessed at Rs.2,70,000/-.
In our view, this finding is just, reasonable and equitable. And, in any case, it does not call for any interference, when officers of the Insurance Company have exploited the situation by not settling the claim on the basis of the survey report.
Hence, the impugned order passed by the State Commission in Appeal No. 1523 of 2002 is set aside. The order passed by the District Forum is restored. The Insurance Company is directed to pay Rs.1,20,500/- with interest at the rate of 12% p.a. from 23.3.2000 till the date of payment, with costs quantified at Rs.5,000/-.