G.Subramanyam, S/o Nrasimhulu,
Aged about 40 years, Hindu,
Working as a Community Co-Ordinator,
Mandal Mahila Samaikya, B.Kothakota Mandal,
Residing at D.No. 1-500, Ammeneni Street,
Madanapalle Town and Mandal, Chittoor District.
The Branch Manager,
United India Insurance Company Limited,
Divisional Office, D.No. 10114, 1st Floor,
@@@@hi Road Extention, Chittoor Town & District.
… Opposite party.
This is a complaint filed by the complainant for claiming an amount of Rs.28,500/- under the Insurance Policy towards the loss of vehicle committed theft by some unknown person and also damages of Rs.39,000/- and for costs.
The complainant submits that he purchased the vehicle bearing No. AP 03 K 4458 from the Project Director, DPIP, Chittoor and the vehicle was transferred in his name on 01.09.2006. When the vehicle is in the name of the vendor the project director, DPIP it was insured with the opposite party and the insurance policy is valid for the period from 06.05.2006 to 05.05.2007. The complainant submits that on 10.02.2007 at midnight the vehicle bearing No. AP 03 K 4458 was stolen by unknown persons. Soon after the theft he has lodged a complaint before I town P.S., Madanapalle P.S., who registered a case in crime No. 24 of 2007 under Section 379 of IPC. The investigating Officer submitted his final report stating that the vehicle was un-detectable. After that the complainant submitted a claim form to the opposite party claiming Insurance amount for the loss of the vehicle. He submitted all the relevant papers to the opposite party, but the opposite party repudiated the claim on the ground that he has no insurable interest over the vehicle as on the date of insurance. If the opposite party pays insurance amount to him he would have purchased a new vehicle. Due to non payment of claim, he spent more than Rs. 30 to 40 per day by engaging autorikshaws and sustained loss of Rs. 1,000/- per month and he sustained a total loss of Rs. 19,000/-. Therefore he is claiming insurance amount of Rs.28,500/- for the loss of vehicle and damages of Rs.39,000/- for mental agony. The complaint may be allowed.
The opposite party filed Written Version stating that the Project Director, DPIP has insured the motor cycle and this opposite party insured insurance policy in favour of Project Director, DPIP, Chittoor. The complainant submitted claim form and this opposite party repudiated the claim of the complainant on the ground that he has no insurable interest over the vehicle as on the date of insurance. This opposite party submits that the project director, DPIP, Chittoor is the insurer of the vehicle. If at all there is any transfer of the vehicle, the same has to be informed to the company. The insurer and the present owner of the vehicle should get endorsement of transfer of insurance policy from the insurance company. Since complainant violated the rules by not informing about the transfer of the vehicle in his favour, the complainant is not entitled to claim the insurance amount of the vehicle. The complaint may be dismissed.
On the basis of the averments of the complainant and written version the points that arise for consideration are :
1) Whether the repudiation of the claim of the complainant under the
insurance policy is not proper? If so whether the opposite party
committed deficiency in service?
2) Whether the complainant is entitled to claim the insurance amount of
Rs.28,500/- for the loss of the vehicle bearing No. AP 03 K 4458?
3) Whether the complainant is entitled to claim damages of Rs.39,000/-
towards mental agony?
4) To what result?
The complainant filed Chief Affidavit of Pw.1 and marked Ex.A1 to A4.
The opposite party filed Chief Affidavit of Rw.1 and marked Ex.B1.
Point No. 1 to 3 :-
It is an admitted fact that the complainant purchased the vehicle bearing
No. AP 03 K 4458 from project director, DPIP, Chittoor and the vehicle was transferred in his name. The complainant submits that he did not get the insurance policy transferred in his name U/Sec. 157 (2) of M.V.Act. It is also an admitted fact that the vehicle was committed theft and it was not traced. It is also an admitted fact that the insurance policy was subsisting on the date of theft of the vehicle. It is an admitted fact that the opposite party repudiated the claim of the complainant on the ground that the project director, DPIP, Chittoor has insured the motor cycle and obtained insurance policy from the opposite party. The present owner of the vehicle i.e. the complainant should get an endorsement of transfer of insurance policy in his name from the opposite party. But he did not do so. Since the complainant has no insurable interest towards the vehicle as on the date of insurance, the claim is repudiated.
The learned counsel for the complainant submits that the project director, DPIP, Chittoor is owner of the vehicle as on the date of insurance policy. Subsequently it was transferred in the name of the complainant. Once the vehicle was transferred, it was deemed that the policy was also transferred. The opposite party cannot take such defence. Therefore the repudiation of the claim of the complainant by the opposite party is not legal. In this regard the learned counsel for the complainant relied on the decision reported in 2005 (3) ALT 589 (H.C.) A.P. in National Insurance Company Ltd., rep. by its Divisional Manager v. K.Yadamma and others - wherein their lordships held that
22. From the above, it is further clear that when once the vehicle is insured, it covers any third party risk, including the transferee owner of the vehicle. It would further suggest that any person who uses the vehicle with the consent of the owner, not being actually a transferee owner, for consideration also, comes under the purview of the third party and even in such cases also the owner of the vehicle for the purpose of liability to pay the compensation either under the M.V.Act or under the W.C.Act by the Insurance Company.
27. Therefore, in the present case, even though the transferor owner was not made a party, the transferee owner being respondent No.5 [since admittedly the owner of the vehicle at the time of the accident], is the “employer” for the purpose of the liability under the W.C.Act. That is enough. Adding of the transferor-owner as a party to the proceedings is only a mere formality, in cases of present nature. Hence, the first contention of the learned Standing Counsel for the Insurance Company cannot be countenanced.
He also relied on the decision reported in 2007 (4) ALT 675 – (H.C) A.P – in Sana Vijaya and others Vs Kannaboina Shankar and others - wherein their lordships held that :-
…5. In G. Govindan V. New India Assurance Company Limited, the Supreme Court held that:
“ A victim or the legal representatives of the victim cannot be denied the compensation by the insurer on the ground that the policy was not transferred in the name of the transferee.
So far as the third party risk is concerned the proprietary interest in the vehicle is not necessary and the public liability continues till the transferor discharges the statutory obligation under Sections 29-A and 31 read with Section 94 of the Act. Till he complies with the requirement of Section 31 of the Act the public liability will not cease and that constitutes the insurable interest to keep the policy alive in respect of the third party risks are concerned. It must be deemed that the transferor allowed other purchaser to use the vehicle in a public place in the said transactional period and accordingly till the compliance of Section 31, the liability of the transferor subsists and the policy is in operation so far it relates to the third party risks.
7. The present legal position is that the Insurance Policy runs with the vehicle irrespective of the transfer of the vehicle from one person to other. Though the policy was issued in the name of the transferor, the fact remains that it covers the risk of the vehicle.
8. By following the above decisions, it is held that the Insurance company is liable to pay compensation irrespective of the transfer of the vehicle from the policy holder to another person. In the light of the above legal position, the finding of the Tribunal that the Insurance Company is not liable cannot withstand.
The facts of the above case are not applicable to the facts of the present case. The decisions rendered by their lordships in the decisions cited supra pertains to the liability of the owner of the vehicle vis – à - vis 3rd party risk. In the present case it is not third party risk. The complainant did not inform to the opposite party about the transfer of ownership of the vehicle in his name and he did not get endorsement of transfer of insurance policy in his name. But he is claiming insurance amount of Rs. 28,500/- for the loss of vehicle by theft. Therefore the facts of the above cases are not applicable to the facts of the present case.
The learned counsel for the opposite party contends that the project director, DPIP, Chittoor is the insurer of the vehicle. The insurer and the present owner of the vehicle i.e. the complainant should get an endorsement of transfer of insurance policy from the opposite party. Since the complainant violated the rules by non informing the transfer of the vehicle to the opposite party and failed to get the endorsement of transfer of the policy in his favour he is not entitled to claim any relief. In this regard he relied on the decision reported in revision petition No. 426 of 2007 NCDRC - New Delhi - between United India Insurance Company Limited, Hyderabad Versus Sri V.C. Denadayal, Madanapalle wherein their lordships at page No.5 at the judgment held as follows:
“….Further, in order to avail the benefit of insurance, the purchaser should have informed the insurance company within 14 days of its purchase under Section 157 (2) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 which admittedly has not been done in this case. After purchase of vehicle, the insurance policy has been renewed twice i.e. from 03.02.2000 to 02.02.2001 and from 03.02.2001 to 02.02.2002. In the circumstances, it is apparent that the complainants dishonestly combined the insurance in the name of complainant No.1 and dishonestly claimed ‘no claim bonus’. The real owner complainant had neither registration in her name nor insurance. She has no insurable interest nor privity of contract with petitioner. The original owner cannot maintain any claim against insurance. We are supported in our view by judgment of this Commission in Madan Singh Vs United India Insurance Co. Ltd., and Anr.1 (2009) CPJ 158 (NC) to which one of us (Justice R.K.Batta) was a party. Under the circumstances, the view taken by the State Commission that the respondent/ complainant No. 2 who purchased the vehicle has stepped into the shoes of the respondent/ complainant No.1 and therefore, entitled to the benefit of the insurance is totally erroneous and, therefore, not sustainable. In order to avail the benefit under the policy, there has to be a contract between the parties and defacto possession of the vehicle will not confer any legal right on respondent/ complainant No.2 to avail the benefit under the policy. The findings of both the fora below are therefore totally/ legally unsustainable.
In the above case their lordships held that in order to avoid the benefit of insurance the purchaser should inform the insurance company within 14 days of his purchase U/Sec. 157 (2) of M.V.Act which admittedly has not been done in this case. Their lordships further held that in order to avail the benefit under the policy there must be a contract between the parties and defacto possession of the vehicle will not confer any legal right on complainant No.2 to avail the benefit under the policy.
This Forum relies on the decision rendered in IV (2007) CPJ 289 (NC) by NCDRC – New Delhi between Shri Narayan Singh versus New India Assurance Company Ltd. wherein their lordships held that
9. “As stated above, the second ground given by the State Commission cannot be justified in view of the India Motor Tariff Regulation. Further, on this aspect, learned counsel for the petitioner has produced on record the judgment rendered by the Chhattisgarh State Commission in the case of Ajimuddin v. The New India Assurance Company Ltd., reported in III (2006) CPJ 273=2006(2) CPR 124, wherein the Commission has observed in paragragh 7 as under:
“Learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that GIC has issued special instructions regarding settlement of claim in case of transfer of policy. It was submitted that as per the said instructions the transfer of policy in favour of the purchaser the complainant/appellant should be treated as automatic. It appears that the Tariff Advisory Committee issued a circular regarding automatic transfer of the policy to the new owner/purchaser of the vehicle. In the said circular the decision of Supreme Court in Complete Insulations (P) Ltd. V. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., was referred to. In the said circular it was stated that for policies issued as per revised Motor Tariff, own damage claim which fall within the purview of GR 10 provisions may be settled in full subject to the other terms and conditions of the policy”.
10.“In this view of the matter, the Insurance Company ought not to have rejected the claim on the ground that the vehicle was not transferred in favour of the complainant”.
Their lordships further held that the Insurance Company ought not to have rejected the claim on the ground that the vehicle was not transferred in favour of the complainant. Their lordships further held that the Insurance Companies would be careful in not taking such stand which is contrary to the regulations framed by the India Motor Tariff and Insurance Regulatory Development Authority.
So in view of the decision rendered above the complainant is entitled to claim the insurance amount of Rs. 28,500/- for the loss of the vehicle. Hence the complaint is allowed with costs of Rs.1,500/-.
Points 1 to 3 are answered accordingly.
Point No. 4 :-
In the result the complaint is allowed for Rs.28,500/- with costs of Rs.1,500/- and dismissed for the rest of the claim. The opposite party shall pay the award amount within 6 weeks from the date of order failing which it carries interest at 9% P.A.