BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER FORUM AT ADILABAD
Date of filing : 08.05.2008.
Date of disposal : 17.03.2009.
Sukhdev Khaliya, S/o.Mishrilal,
Age:59 years, Occ:Tax Consultant,
Owner of Vehicle Car No.AP.01.J.3132,
R/o.Indiranagar, Nirmal, Dist.Adilabad.
The New India Assurance Company Ltd.,
Rep.by its Branch Manager,
Branch Office, Nirmal, Dist.Adilabad. …Opp.Party.
Counsel for Complainant : Mr. B.Praveen.
Counsel for Opposite Party : Mr. S.Raja Ram.
SRI.P.THIRUPATHI REDDY, M.A., L.L.B. : PRESIDENT.
SRI.C.RAMA REDDY, B.A., : MEMBER.
TUESDAY THE 17th DAY OF MARCH 2009.
This complaint is filed under section 12 of C.P. Act 1986.
Order Pronounced by President:-
The brief facts of complaint are as follows:
1. The complainant is resident of Nirmal and owner of Hyundai Car bearing No.AP.01.J.3132 and the complainant got insured the above said vehicle with the Opp.Party vide Policy bearing No.610604/31/07/01/0000308 which was valid from 25-5-2007 to 24-5-2008. Unfortunately the vehicle of the complainant got damaged in a motor vehicle accident occurred on 15.12.2007 at 2100 hours on NH.No.7 at Narsampally X-Road. The vehicle of the complainant damaged badly. The complainant has informed the accident to the Opp.Party. In turn the Opp.Party sent the claim form and the complainant furnished the same to Opp.Party duly filled on 17.12.2007 claiming the vehicle damage. The Opp.Party asked the complainant to furnish the relevant documents pertaining to the damaged vehicle and police record. In turn the complainant has complied the same vide letter dt:12.01.2008. The Opp.Party has repudiated the claim of the complainant vide letter dt:13.03.2008 and subsequently on 17.03.2008 alleging that the driver of vehicle in question was not holding valid driving license on the date of accident. The above acts of the Opp.Party in avoiding the payment of policy amount to the complainant comes under the deficiency of service.
Hence the complainant prayed this Forum may kindly be pleased to allow the complaint as under:
- Direct the Opp.Party to pay a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh Only) to the complainant covered by the policy in question.
- Direct the Opp.Party to pay interest @ 18% per annum upon the awarded amount from the date of complaint till its realization.
- The costs of this complaint may be awarded to the complainant, in the interest of justice.
2. The Opp.Party contested the petition and filed counter. The contents of counter are as follows:
After the accident, the complainant sent a claim form and in the routine course an investigator was appointed. The Surveyor submitted his report dt:09.01.2008 assessing the damages to a tune of Rs.55,977.41 paisa. It is further revealed in the investigation that the vehicle driven by its driver namely D.Ganesh without effective driving license. It is revealed that the vehicle met with an accident on 15.12.2007. The driving license of the said driver expired on 12.09.2007. However the said driver after the date of accident got renewed the driving license with effect from 17.12.2007 to 16.12.2010. It is clear that after the expiry of 12.09.2007 there was no renewal even within 30 days of grace period allowed for renewal as per the M.V. Act and rules. It is submitted that the complainant is entering into a chance litigation and the claim of the complainant is vexatious, frivolous and liable to be dismissed in limini. The Opp.Party prayed to dismiss the complaint.
3. Both parties filed Proof Affidavits.
4. On behalf of complainant Ex.A1 to A11 are marked. No documents are filed on behalf of Opp.Parties.
5. Now the point for consideration is whether there are grounds to allow the petition?
6. Heard both sides. The Opp.Party repudiated the claim of the complainant only on the ground that the driver of the vehicle did not have effective driving license on the date of accident i.e., 15.12.2007. It appears the due date of the license expired on 12.09.2007 and the same was got renewed on 17.12.2007. In this connection we feel it reasonable to relied on
National Insurance Co.Ltd.
That the Parliament deliberately used two different expressions ‘effective license’ in section 3 and ‘duly licensed’ in sub-section (2) of Section 149 of the Act which are suggestive of the fact that a driver once licensed, unless he is disqualified, would continue to be a duly licensed person for the purpose of Chapter XI of the Act.
In the case of this nature The Supreme Court of India has, as early as in 2003, in the case of
United India Insurance Co.Ltd.,
Categorically held that at the time of taking a job “if a driver produces a license which on the face of it looks genuine, the owner of the vehicle is not expected to find out whether the license has in fact been issued by a competent authority”. Relying on this verdict of the apex Court, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission too has in National Insurance Co.Ltd., Vs.Harpal Singh, 2005 CTJ 974(CP), allowed the complaint of the truck owner whose truck met with an accident and the Insurance Company repudiated the claim. The ratio of such verdicts is that where the owner has satisfied himself that the driver has a license and is driving competently, there should then be no breach of Section 149(2)(ii) of the Motor Vehicles Act. Repudiation of insurance claims on this ground is not sustainable.
In view of the above case law, the objection raised by the Opp.Party is not tenable and we feel it is a fit case to grant compensation.
7. Coming to the point of compensation it appears the Surveyor after detailed inspection and enquiry assessed the loss and compensation is payable at Rs.55,977.41 ps. Perused documents filed by complainant. As seen from the claim of the complainant, he furnished payments receipts Ex.A9 to A11 one for Rs.75,000/- another for Rs.9,453/- total amount said to have spent by complainant is Rs.84,543/-. The amount of Rs.75,000/- sent by D.D.No.771880 dt:10.01.2008. Thus we feel it reasonable to pay compensation of Rs.85,000/-.
8. In the result the complaint is partly allowed. The Opp.Party is directed to make a payment of Rs.85,000/- (Rupees Eighty Five thousand Only) within the period of one month from the date of pronouncement of this order, failing which the above amount will carry interest @ 9% p.a. from the date of filing of complaint and the complainant shall be at liberty to proceed against them U/S.25/27 of Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Dictated to Steno, transcribed by her, corrected by us and pronounced in the Open Forum on the 17th day of March 2009.
Appendix of Evidence
ON BEHALF OF COMPLAINANT ON BEHALF OF OPP. PARTY
Ex.A1: Xerox copy of Certificate of Registration.
Ex.A2: Xerox copy of Driving License.
Ex.A3: Xerox copy of F.I.R. Dt:16.12.2007.
Ex.A4: Xerox copy of Certificate of Insurance of Private
Ex.A5: Xerox copy of Terms & Conditions.
Ex.A6: Xerox copy of Motor Claim Form.
Ex.A7: Repudiation letter dt:13.03.2008.
Ex.A8: Letter from Opp.Party to complainant
Ex.A9: Xerox copy of Receipt for Rs.75,000/-.
Ex.A10: Xerox copy of Receipt for Rs.9,543/-.
Ex.A11: Xerox copy of Invoice Cash/Credit.
//Certified True Copy//