Shri Inder Vikram Lal S/O Shri Shyam Lal, R/O Village Shallar, P.O. Nadpur Jehubal, District Shimla, H.P.
1. Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co Ltd.
46, Whites Road, Chennai-600014,
Regd Office 21, Patullos Road, Chennai-
600 002 through its Managing Director.
2. The Claims Officer,
Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co Ltd.
46, Whites Road, Chennai-600 014.
Shri Pritam Singh (District Judge) President.
Ms. Karuna Machhan, Member (Female)
Mr. Charanjit Singh, Member (Male)
For the complainant: Mr. Jagat Pal, Advocate vice
Ms. Shilpa Sood, Advocate.
For the Opposite Parties: Mr. Sunil Goel, Advocate
O R D E R:
Pritam Singh (District Judge) President:-This order shall dispose of complaint filed under section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The brief facts as set in the complaint are that the son of the complainant Shri Vineet Kumar purchased a Maruti 800 car bearing registration No.HP-10-0963 from M/S Vipul Motors, Faridabad, which was duly insured with the OP-Company vide policy No. 00054446 dated 23.10.2002 effective from 23.10.2002 to 22.10.2003. It is alleged that later on this vehicle was transferred by his son in the name of the complainant on 13.11.2002. That earlier the vehicle met with an accident and was got repaired and the insurance claim was also preferred by him vide bill dated 06.03.2003, which was settled by OP who paid a sum of Rs.8,175/- to him through HDFC bank. It is further alleged by the complainant that the vehicle again met with an accident on 23.08.2003 and intimation about this accident was sent to the OP No.2 and FIR was also lodged at Police Station Theog. Thereafter, he lodged insurance claim with the OP-Company. But, the OP-Company instead of settling his insurance claim repudiated the same on the ground that there was no insurable interest on the date of accident interse the parties. Hence, feeling dissatisfied and aggrieved by the act of the OP-Company, he perforce filed this complaint against OP-Company.
2. The OP-Company while filing reply of complaint took some preliminary objections regarding maintainability of complaint, jurisdiction of Forum and status of the complainant as consumer etc. On merits, they alleged that the registration certificate of the vehicle in question was earlier in the name of one Shri Vineet Kumar and they had no information whether this vehicle was transferred in the name of the complainant on 13.11.2002. Hence, there was no privity of contract between the parties and there being no deficiency in service on their part, the complaint is sought to be dismissed. Thereafter, the parties led oral and documentary evidence in support of their claim/counter claim.
3. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties at length and have also thoroughly scanned the entire record of the case.
4. It may be stated that undisputedly the vehicle viz Maruti Car 800 bearing registration No.HP-10-0963 purchased by one Shri Vineet Kumar son of the complainant was duly insured with the OP-Company with effect from 23.10.2002 to 22.10.2003 as is evident from the copy of insurance cover note Annexure C-A placed on record and relied upon by the complainant. It is the case of the complainant that subsequently this vehicle was transferred by his son Vineet Kumar in his name on 13.11.2002. That earlier this vehicle met with an accident which was got repaired and the insurance claim was preferred by him vide bill dated 06.03.2003 and the OP-Company settled this earlier insurance claim and a sum of Rs.8,175/- was paid to him through HDFC Bank. That the vehicle again met with an accident on 23.08.2003 and he informed the OP No.2 about the same and FIR was also lodged at local Police Station. That the OP-Company also deputed surveyor to conduct the survey and assesses the loss who after visiting the site assessed the loss and advised him to get the vehicle in question repaired from M/S Motoworld Maruti Authorized Service Station, Nav Bahar, Shimla and he accordingly got the vehicle repaired by incurring expenditure of Rs.1,23,363/- and then preferred the insurance claim to this extent with the OP-Company. But, the OP-Company did not settle his genuine insurance claim.
5. The sole ground for repudiating the insurance claim of the complainant is that as the registration certificate of the vehicle in question was in the name of one Shri Vineet Kumar and the policy was issued in his name and that they had no information whether this vehicle stood transferred in the name of the complainant on 13.11.2002, therefore, as there was no privity of contract between the parties therefore the question of settling the insurance claim of the complainant does not arise as they are not legally liable to settle this insurance claim.
6. In this connection, it may be stated that the complainant has specifically alleged in para No.3 of complaint that after transferring the R.C. of the aforesaid vehicle in his name, it met with an accident and he got the vehicle repaired and preferred insurance claim with the OP-Company which was settled and a sum of Rs.8,175/- was paid to him by the OP-Company through HDFC Bank. In response to this para, the OP-Company in corresponding para 3 of reply denied whether they had earlier settled any insurance claim of the complainant after the transfer of the R.C. in his name on 13.11.2002. But, in this behalf it may be stated that the complainant had got issued legal notice to the OP-Company as is evident from the copy of notice Annexure C-C. In para 2 of this notice, it is specifically alleged that after transferring of the R.C. of the vehicle in question in the name of the complainant, it met with an accident and insurance claim was preferred on 06.03.2003 and a sum of Rs.8,175/- was paid to him by the OP-Company through HDFC Bank Delhi. In reply to this notice, the OP-Company in corresponding para 2 of the reply sent vide Annexure C-D clearly admitted that they had mistakenly paid the aforesaid sum to the complainant. But, alleged that such payment would not create any contract between the parties. Therefore, while sending reply Annexure C-D to the legal notice the OP has clearly admitted that they had made payment of Rs.8,175/- for the earlier insurance claim preferred by the complainant qua this vehicle, whereas in para No.3 of reply they have disputed this fact. Thus, it appears that the OP took different stand at different stage. In the circumstances, it can be safely presumed that they have knowledge that the R.C. of the vehicle stands transferred in the name of the complainant on 13.11.2002 that is why they settled the earlier insurance claim of the complainant by making payment of Rs.8,175/- to him through HDFC New Delhi on 06.03.2003. Hence, now it does not lie in the mouth of the OP-Company to say that as there is no privity of contract between the parties, therefore they are not bound to settle the present insurance claim of the complainant.
7. Moreover, undisputedly the vehicle was duly insured with the OP-Company vide insurance cover note Annexure C-A for a sum of Rs.2,11,411/- w.e.f. 23.10.2002 to 22.10.2003, which met with an accident second time on 23.08.2003 during the currency of the insurance policy. Besides this insurance cover note is not pertaining to personal accident policy of the owner of the vehicle. Therefore, if any loss is caused to the vehicle in accident during the currency of the insurance policy, the OP-Company is otherwise liable to indemnify the insured to the extent of losses sustained by the insured vehicle.
8. The complainant has alleged that at the advice of the surveyor appointed by the OP-Company, he got the vehicle repaired from authorized service station M/S Motoworld Maruti Authorized Service Station Nav Bahar Shimla by incurring sum of Rs.1,23,363/-. No doubt, the complainant has not placed on record the repair bills or copies thereof, but it has not been specifically disputed by the OP-Company that the complainant did not incur the aforesaid sum for repairing the vehicle in question from authorized service station because the loss of vehicle was not got assessed by the OP-Company from the independent surveyor and loss assessor. As such in the circumstances inference can be safely drawn that the complainant had incurred a sum of Rs.1,23,363/- by getting the vehicle repaired from authorized service station to make it road worthy. Therefore, we hold that the complaint is certainly entitled to be indemnified by the OP-Company to the extent of this amount.
9. For the foregoing reasons and discussion, we allow this complaint and direct the OP-Company (OPs No.1 & 2 jointly and severally) to indemnify the complainant to the extent of a sum of Rs.1,23,363/- alongwith interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of filing of the complaint, i.e. 13.07.2004 till making full payment of the aforesaid amount. The litigation cost is quantified at Rs.1500/- payable by both the OPs to the complainant. This order shall be complied with by both the OPs within a period of forty five days after the date of receipt of copy of this order.