Varinder Kumar son of Dalip Singh aged 35 years, resident of Ward No. 12, VPO: Tanda, District Hoshiarpur.
Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd., through its Branch Manager, Court Road, Hoshiarpur.
Reliance General Inurance Co. Ltd., through its Manager, SCO 212-214, Sector 34-A, Chandigarh.
Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd., through its concerned officer, registered office : Reliance Centre 19, Walchand Hira Chand Marg, Ballard Estate, Mumbai.
...... Opposite Parties
The complainant namely Varinder Kumar has filed the present complaint, under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (as amended upto date) “hereinafter referred as the Act”. Stated briefly, the facts of the case are that the complainant got his vehicle (Tavera) bearing registration No. PB-07S-8101 insured from 30.4.2008 to 29.4.2009 from the opposite parties.
It is the case of the complainant that on 23.8.2008, the said vehicle met with an accident in District Ludhiana. That DDR No. 5 dated 24.8.2008 was recorded at PS Salemtabri, Ludhiana. That information with regard to the accident was also given to the opposite parties. The opposite parties appointed surveyor, Rajesh Khanna, who inspected the vehicle.
It is further the case of the complainant that he suffered loss of Rs. 5,00,000/-. It is the allegation of the complainant that the OP No. 2 repudiated the claim on the ground that the vehicle was used for carrying passengers. The repudiation of the claim is stated to be illegal, as the complainant never used the vehicle for any commercial purpose. It is further the grouse of the complainant that he received letter dated 11.12.2008 from the opposite parties qua which the insurance policy had been cancelled. The said act of the opposite parties is also stated to be illegal, hence this complaint.
The opposite parties filed the joint reply. The preliminary objection with regard to suppression of material facts was raised. On merits, the claim put forth by the complainant has been denied. However, it is admitted that Tavera Car of the complainant was insured with the replying opposite parties from 30.4.2008 to 29.4.2009. It is also admitted that the complainant lodged the claim. It is denied that the complainant suffered the loss of Rs. 5,00,000/-.
It is further replied that as per terms and conditions of the insurance policy, the vehicle insured with the replying opposite parties could not be plied for hire and reward. The matter was duly investigated, and it came in the investigation that the vehicle in question was being plied for hire and reward at the time of accident. The said use of the vehicle was in breach of policy terms and conditions i.e. “Limitation as to Use”, therefore, the claim of the complainant was repudiated and intimation in this regard was sent to him vide letter dated 20.10.2008. It is further replied that the loss to the vehicle was assessed at Rs. 2,93,414/- by the surveyor.
In order to prove the case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit – Ex. C-1, insurance policy – Mark C-2, R.C. - Mark C-3, DDR dated 24.8.2008 – Mark C-4, notice – Mark C-5, cancellation of insurance policy – Mark C-6 and closed the evidence.
In rebuttal, the opposite parties tendered in evidence affidavit of Satyam Kapoor – Ex. R-1, investigation report – Ex. R-2, survey report – Ex. R-3, consent letter – Ex. R-4 , affidavit of Kashmir Singh - Ex. R-5, statement of Gurmeet Singh – Mark R-6, statement of Varinder Kumar – Mark R-7 and closed the evidence on behalf of the opposite parties.
The learned counsel for the parties have filed written arguments. We have gone through the written submissions and record of the file minutely.
Admittedly, the Tavera car bearing registration No. PB-07S-8101 was insured with the opposite parties from 30.4.2008 to 29.4.2009. The opposite parties have raised the plea hat the matter was duly investigated and it came to light that the vehicle in question was being plied for Hire and Reward at the time of accident, therefore, the claim of the complainant was repudiated.
Now, the only point which calls decision from this Court is whether the vehicle bearing registration No. PB-07S-8101 was being plied for Hire and Reward at the time of accident? The answer to this is in the negative.
The learned counsel for the opposite parties raised the argument that Sh. Satyam Kapur, Asstt. Legal Manager qua his affidavit – Ex. R-1 had stated that the matter was investigated through Investigator, M/s. Royal Associates. It came to light that the vehicle was being plied for Hire and Reward at the time of accident.
The copy of the Investigation report is Ex. R-2. The Survey Report is Ex. R-3 on the record. The consent letter by the complainant is dated 3.10.2008- Ex. R-4 whereby he agreed to accept a sum of Rs. 1,60,000/- in full and final settlement of the claim. The affidavit of the investigator is Ex. R-5.
The learned counsel for the opposite parties made a reference to the statement of Gurmit Singh son of Sh. Gurbachan Singh- Mark R-6, wherein he has stated that on 23.8.2008, they hired the vehicle No. PB07-S-8101. That 7/8 passengers were sitting in the said vehicle. That the said vehicle met with an accident. Mark R-7 is the statement of Varinder Kumar Tuli son of Dalip Singh Tuli, wherein he has stated that on 23.8.2008, the vehicle No. PB-07-S-8101 was carrying passengers at the time of accident. It was argued that the vehicle was being used for Hire and Reward, therefore, the claim is not payable.
Admittedly, the opposite parties have not produced on record the affidavits of said Gurmit Singh and Varinder Kumar Tuli in support of their statements – Mark R-6 and Mark R-7, therefore, the said statements lose their evidentiary value, as such are not sufficient to prove that the vehicle was being used for Hire and Reward.
The opposite parties have produced on record the Consent Letter of the complainant – Ex. R-4, wherein he has agreed to accept the amount of Rs. 1,60,000/- as full and final settlement of the claim. Since the complainant has agreed to receive the amount of Rs. 1,60,000/- qua Consent Letter – Ex. R-4 as full and final settlement of th claim, therefore,he cannot ask the insurance company to pay the amount of Rs. 5,00,000/-.
As a result of the above discussion, it is held that the opposite parties have illegally repudiated the claim of the complainant,which amounts to deficiency in service on their part, consequently, the complaint of the complainant is accepted and the opposite parties are directed to pay Rs. 1,60,000/- to the complainant with interest @ 9% per annum from the date of filing of the complaint i.e. 26.3.2009 till realization. Litigation expenses are assessed at Rs. 1,000/- to be paid by the opposite parties to the complainant within one month from the date of receipt of copy of the order. Copy of the order be sent to the parties free of cost. File be consigned to the record room.