1 2 nd Bench STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, PUNJAB, SECTOR 37-A, DAKSHIN MARG, CHANDIGARH First Appeal No. 735 of 2008 Date of institution : Date of Decision : Avtar Singh aged about 47 years son of S. Hardayal Singh, resident of Village Surajgarh, Tehsil Rajpura, District Patiala..Appellant. Versus 1. ICICI Lambard General insurance Co. Ltd. SCO No. 11 Chhoti Baradari Patiala through its Manager/I.C. 2. ICICI Lambard General Insurance Co. Ltd. SCO No. 514 Sector 14 Panchkula (Haryana) through its Manager/I.C. Respondents. Before:- First Appeal against the order dated of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Patiala. Shri Piare Lal Garg, Presiding Member. Shri Jasbir Singh Gill, Member. Present:- For the appellant : Sh. Parvej Saini, Advocate For the respondents : Sh. Mrigank Sharma, Advocate PIARE LAL GARG, PRESIDING MEMBER: This is an appeal filed by the appellant/complainant-avtar Singh(hereinafter called the appellant ) against the order dated of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Patiala(hereinafter called the District Forum ) vide which the complaint of the appellant was dismissed by the District Forum. 2. Brief facts of the case are that the appellant purchased Tata Indica Car No. PB-11-AE-7588 model 2006 by taking loan from ICICI Bank. The car was insured with the respondents for the period of to for an amount of Rs. 3,38,252/- against the premium of Rs. 12,932/- and cover note No was issued by the
2 First Appeal No. 735 of respondents. The premium was paid to the representative of the respondents which was not deposited by him with the respondents. 3. The said vehicle was again got insured by the appellant from the respondents vide cover note No for the period of to for an amount of Rs. 3,22,721/- against the premium of Rs. 12,596/-. 4. As the appellant was unable to drive the vehicle, he engaged Sh. Jaspal Singh s/o Mehar Singh as driver, who was having valid driving licence. 5. The car met with an accident on at Rajpura when the same was being driven by Jaspal Singh. The appellant suffered a loss of Rs. 40,000/- due to accident. He intimated the matter to the respondents. Surveyor was appointed, who inspected the vehicle and also taken his signature on consent letter without mentioning the amount on the same. The claim of the appellant was repudiated vide letter dated on the ground that the vehicle was being used for commercial purpose. It was further pleaded that Surveyor also not assessed the amount of correct loss, which was suffered by the appellant due to accident. The complaint was filed with the prayer that the respondents may be directed to pay Rs. 40,000/- and Rs. 12,932/- of premium, which was not deposited by the representative of the respondents with them with 18% per annum from the date of accident till its payment and also prayed for compensation of Rs. 25,000/- for mental tension and harassment alongwith Rs. 11,000/- as litigation expenses. 6. Upon notice, the respondents replied by taking preliminary objections that the complaint was false and frivolous and the appellant had not come to the District Forum with clean hands, the appellant had no locus-standi to file the complaint, appellant does not come under the
3 First Appeal No. 735 of definition of consumer. On merits, it was not denied that the vehicle in dispute of the appellant was not insured vide cover note No for the period to It was also pleaded that on receipt of intimation of the accident Sh. Arpan Gupta, Surveyor was appointed to inspect the vehicle at Joshi Autozone Pvt. Ltd., Chandigarh. The Surveyor after inspection assessed the loss to the tune of Rs. 30,310/- as per terms and conditions of the policy. The estimate given by the appellant to the respondents was highly exaggerated. It was not correct that the Surveyor had obtained the signature of the appellant on blank consent letter. Sh. A.P. Singh was appointed as Investigator, who visited the spot of accident and inquired the matter from the public near the spot, who told that actually the vehicle was met with an accident on and not on as disclosed by the appellant. It was also found by the Investigator that the vehicle was running as Taxi at Sandhu Taxi Stand, Rajpura. The investigator also visited the Police Station, Rajpura but no FIR or DDR was lodged by the appellant with the Police Station, Rajpura and there was no entry in the police record for the period of to regarding the accident of the vehicle in question. The investigator also visited the different Taxi stands of Rajpura and he came to know that the vehicle in dispute belongs to Avtar Singh of Surajpura, who was a Class IV employee in Irrigation Department at Dhanaur, who was running the vehicle in dispute as Taxi, driven by Jasbir Singh. The investigator also enquired from Jaspal Singh, driver on telephone, who also admitted that the vehicle was being run as taxi and at the time of accident, one passenger was traveling in the said car, who took from Mohan Continental Patiala but the vehicle met with an accident on the intervening night of 27/ near Rajpura. The respondents after going through the report
4 First Appeal No. 735 of of the investigator, the claim of the appellant was rightly repudiated vide letter dated and prayed for the dismissal of the complaint. 7. The complaint of the appellant was dismissed by the District Forum. 8. The appeal is filed on the grounds that the vehicle was not running as Taxi but the same was used by the appellant for his personal use, the District Forum has not applied its judicious mind and dismissed the complaint without giving any reasoning of its dismissal, which caused great injustice to the appellant, as such, the order of the District Forum is liable to be set aside. 9. There is no dispute between the parties that the vehicle of the appellant was insured vide cover note Ex. C-3 with the respondents from to midnight The version of the appellant is that the vehicle met with an accident on but on the other hand, the version of the respondents is that as per the report of the investigator the vehicle met with an accident on The second version of the appellant is that the vehicle was not being used as Taxi but on the other hand, the version of the respondents is that the vehicle was being used as Taxi as per the report of the Investigator. 11. Now we have to decide:- (i) whether the vehicle was met with an accident on or ? (ii) whether the vehicle was being used as Taxi or not? (iii) whether the repudiation of the claim is correct or not? (iv) whether the assessment of loss as Rs. 30,310/- by Surveyor was correct or not?
5 First Appeal No. 735 of We have perused the investigation report of the investigator Ex. R-3 tendered into evidence by the respondents. The findings/conclusion of the investigator is as under:- Conclusion : From the perusal of above facts following points came into light. 1. It is fact that the Indica no. CH18-T-7852 met with an accident on near Rajpura and an accident took place when Jaspal Singh was driving the vehicle and suddenly one Truck came from behind and strucked against the left side resulted vehicle got damaged but there was no major injury to any persons. 2. It has also been confirmed from Police Station City Rajpura that no such accident to Indica No. CH18-T-7852 with truck was reported in their police station. There are chances that parties might have compromised out of police station. 3. During course of investigation as well as discrete enquiries from different Taxi Stands at Rajpura. It has been established that Sh. Avtar Singh is using his new Indica no. CH18-T-7852 as taxi and he himself is operating from Sandhu Taxi Stand Rajpura and he has given the vehicle to driver Jaspal Singh as he himself is an employee of Punjab Irrigation Department. 4. During course of investigation the undersigned also traced driver Jaspal Singh and he also admitted that vehicle Indica no. CH18-T-7852 was being used at Taxi/on hire by Sh. Avtar Singh. Jaspal Singh has also confirmed during our discussion that he is operating the vehicle from Sandhu Taxi Stand. Moreover he told that an accident took place on 27/28 January, I also recorded the discussion with driver Jaspal Singh the same is attached. 5. So after thorough investigation from Spot of accident, Police Station Rajpura and discrete enquiries from different taxi stands at Rajpura as well as my personal visit and discussion with the driver Jaspal Singh, it has been established that the insured is using the vehicle Indica no. CH18-T-7852 as taxi/on hire which is violation of Ins. Policy conditions. Moreover the vehicle Indica no. CH18-T-7852 met with an accident on 27/28 January, 2007 not on So company may repudiate the claim and also go for cancellation the insurance policy with immediate effect. 13. The investigator had mentioned that the vehicle met with accident on and not on from the nearby persons, who told that Indica No. CH-18(T)-7852 met with an accident on It was further reported that after taking telephone no. from father of Jaspal Singh driver he made a call to him, who admitted that the accident occurred in the midnight of 27/ and recorded the discussion in
6 First Appeal No. 735 of CD which was attached with the investigation report. But no CD was produced by the respondents to prove that the vehicle in dispute was met with an accident in the midnight of 27/ as told by Jaspal Singh. No affidavit of said Jaspal Singh is produced by the respondents to prove the findings of the investigator regarding the accident occurred in the midnight of 27/ and not on as reported by the appellant. 14. The investigator also reported that he made discrete enquiries from different Taxi Stands at Rajpura and as per the discussion with Jaspal Singh driver, it was established that the vehicle was being used as Taxi which was violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. But no name of any driver, taxi owner or any shopkeeper of nearby Taxi Stands was given, who disclosed to the Investigator that the car was being used as Taxi. The Investigator also did not disclose the name of any person from whom he inquired at the site where the accident took place, that the accident occurred on 27/ and not on The name and designation of the Police Station from whom he inquired regarding the accident of the vehicle in dispute was also not disclosed by the Investigator. Neither the investigator was examined by the respondents nor his affidavit was tendered into evidence to prove the report of investigation. As such, the investigation report is not based on any evidence or statement of any person, who disclosed the date of accident as well as use of the car as Taxi. The report of the investigator is based on conjectures and surmises. 15. We have also perused the report of the Surveyor Ex. R-5 and final assessment Ex. R-6 as well as his affidavit Ex. R-11. The surveyor assessed the loss to the tune of Rs. 30,310.06p on the basis of estimage given by Joshi Autozone Pvt. Ltd., Chandigarh but no evidence was
7 First Appeal No. 735 of produced by the appellant to rebut the assessment of loss assessed by the Surveyor, which was as per the Authorized Service Station of Tata Cars. The appellant also not produced any receipt regarding the payment of parts and labour paid to the Service Station from where the car was got repaired by the appellant that he paid Rs. 40,000/- and the assessment of the Surveyor was not correct. 16. We have perused the repudiation letter Ex. C-10 dated The claim of the appellant was repudiated on the following grounds:- With reference to your claim, we wish to inform you that we have received the papers and documents submitted by you for processing the claim. On the basis of our examination of the submitted documents, we regret our inability to honour the claim for further process because: 1. The car was used for commercial purposes. 17. The claim of the appellant was repudiated only on the ground that the car was being used for commercial purpose. The basis of the conclusion of the respondents that the car was being used as Taxi only on the findings of the investigator but as per above discussion, the report of the Investigator is not believable as the investigator had not recorded any statement of any person, who was doing the business of taxi, driver or any member of the Taxi Stand s as mentioned by the Investigator that he inquired from the Taxi Stand s regarding the use of the car in dispute. 18. In view of the above discussion, we are of the view that the order of the District Forum is against the evidence and based only on the report of the investigator, which is not believable. Even the investigator had not mentioned his qualification, experience as well as whether he was registered with the I.R.D.A. or not as investigator. 19. The appeal of the appellant is accepted and the impugned order of the District Forum is set-aside. The respondents are directed to
8 First Appeal No. 735 of pay Rs. 30,310/- as assessed by the Surveyor with 9% per annum after one week from the submission of report by the Surveyor and also pay Rs. 10,000/- as litigation expenses to the appellant within one month from the receipt of copy of the order. 20. The arguments in this appeal were heard on and the order was reserved. Now the order be communicated to the parties. 21. The appeal could not be decided within the statutory period due to heavy pendency of Court cases. (Piare Lal Garg) Presiding Member January 31, as (Jasbir Singh Gill) Member