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The matter arises out of theft of a Mahindra Bolero vehicle on 21.3.2009. At the time of the theft the vehicle was insured with the revision petitioner IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Co. Ltd. The claim under the policy was repudiated by the Insurance Co, on the ground that on the day of the theft the vehicle was not registered with the transport authorities. This amounted to violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which was considered a violation of the terms of the insurance policy by the Insurance Co. 2. The case of the Complainant before the District Forum was that the Insurance Co. had insured the vehicle for a sum of Rs.5,62,400/-, after charging a premium of Rs.20242.77. The insurance was effective from the date of purchase and was in operation when the vehicle was stolen on 21.3.2009.

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

Charles Simms, March 17, 1796, Fire Insurance ...

Charles Simms, March 17, 1796, Fire Insurance Policy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW DELHI

                                                         

 

REVISION PETITION NO. 171 OF 2012

(Against the order dated 30.8.2011 in Appeal No.174 of 2011

of the State Commission, Chhattisgarh)

IFFCO TOKIO General Ins. Co. Ltd.

FAI Building,

10, Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg,

Qutub Institutional Area,

New Delhi- 110067

And also at

Lal Ganga Shopping Mall,

G.E. Road, Raipur

Dist. Raipur (C.G.)                                                                                    ……….Petitioner

Versus

Pratima Jha

R/o Thesil Kawardha,

District Kabirdham                                                                                       ………Respondent

BEFORE

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE V.B. GUPTA,

                              PRESIDING MEMBER

HON’BLE MR. VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER

 

For the Petitioner         :   Ms. Shantha Devi Raman,  Advocate

PRONOUNCED ON:    27.04.2012

 

 

ORDER

 

PER MR.VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER

This revision petition has been filed against the concurrent findings of the fora below.  There is a delay of 36 days in filing the revision petition which, considering the explanation of the appellant, was condoned.  The matter was accordingly taken up for consideration on merits.  The matter arises out of theft of a Mahindra Bolero vehicle on 21.3.2009. At the time of the theft the vehicle was insured with the revision petitioner IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Co. Ltd.  The claim under the policy was repudiated by the Insurance Co, on the ground that on the day of the theft the vehicle was not registered with the transport authorities.  This amounted to violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which was considered a violation of the terms of the insurance policy by the Insurance Co.

2.      The case of the Complainant before the District Forum was that the Insurance Co. had insured the vehicle for a sum of Rs.5,62,400/-, after charging a premium of Rs.20242.77.  The insurance was effective from the date of purchase and was in operation when the vehicle was stolen on 21.3.2009.

3.      The OP/ IFFCO TOKIO General Insurance Co. contested the claim.  It was however, admitted that the OP had provided the insurance cover for the vehicle.  But, the Insurance Co., asserted that the repudiation of the claim was as per the conditions of the policy.  The insurance policy operated under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.  According to the OP, the vehicle remained unregistered and the Complainant continued to use it without proper registration.

4.      The District Forum took into account the fact that the vehicle was covered under a temporary registration from 7.9.2008 to 7.10.2008.  There was no evidence to show whether the vehicle had received permanent registration, after the above period.  The District Forum noted that as per records, the claim was repudiated by the OP on the ground that of non-registration with the RTO, which was a violation of the Motor Vehicles Act. But, it held that there was nothing in insurance policy to discharge the insurer from its liability under the policy on the ground of non-registration. The District Forum, therefore, allowed the claim, directing the OP/revision petitioner to pay the amount of insurance i.e. Rs.562400/- together with compensation of Rs.7,600/-.

5.      Considering the appeal against the above order, the State Commission noted that complete documents were not filed before the District Forum, by the Insurance Company.  The Insurance Co. could therefore not be permitted to say that some terms of the insurance policy had been violated by the Complainant/insured.  The Commission observed that a perusal of the documents on record showed that there was nothing to support the claim that the Insurance Co. would stand exonerated from its liability, in the event of violation of any provision of law by the insured. The claim of the appellant/Insurance Co. was rejected by the State Commission with the following observations:-

“From the record, it appears that the vehicle was got registered in the Office of the RTO, Raipur, vide document Annexure-A4.  This document shows that under the provisions of Section 25 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, the vehicle in question was got registered under a temporary registration and registration NO.C.G.04 5651/TR was allotted to the vehicle.  In the certificate, it has also been mentioned that the certificate would be valid from 08.09.2008 to 17.10.2008 and necessary charges Rs.130/- was paid for the purpose of getting this temporary registration No. on 08.10.2008 and then again on 13.11.2008.  These dates have been mentioned against the word “deposit”. Probably this endorsement shows that some amount was deposited for getting temporary registration continued from 14.10.2008 to 13.11.2008.  Though no specific endorsement was made by the Registering Authority in this regard, but from this entry of deposit, it appears that the concerning RTO, permitted the owner of the vehicle to use the temporary registration for a period beyond the period, which was mentioned earlier. 

Considering these documents, we can safely infer that a particular Registration No. was allotted and registration fees was also deposited from time to time by owner in the Office of Registering Authority.  On 13.10.2008, when Rs.100/- was deposited, then again endorsement was made by the Registering Authority with seal and signature of the Authority concerned.  Against the entry, there is no mention that after this deposit for how long period, the owner of the vehicle was permitted to use the temporary registration no.  It might be even up to date of accident, so on the basis of this particular document, this cannot be said that vehicle was being use without getting the same Registered in the Office of the Registering Authority.  Thus there was no violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 in this regard.”

6.      Thus, the District Forum as well as the State Commission have both given a finding that there is nothing in the  insurance policy which could exonerate the Insurance Co. from its liability on the ground of non-registration of the vehicle.

7.      We have perused the records of the case and heard the counsel for the revision petitioner.

8.      In the revision petition, the petitioner has emphatically urged the point of violation of Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which prohibits use of an unregistered vehicle. It has also referred to the consequences, which can flow under Section 177 from non-registration.  According to the appellant, Section 43 of the Motor Vehicles Act, also lays down that a temporary registration (as in this case) shall be valid only for a period of one month, except under certain circumstances allowed in the provision.  It is contended that if there is violation of law as contained in the above mentioned provisions, the contract or agreement would fail whether there is an express provision to this effect, in the terms and conditions to that effect, or not.

9.      The above stand in the revision petition, in our view is an unconvincing attempt on the part of the revision petitioner to circumvent a concurrent finding of fact given by both the fora below.  We therefore, have no hesitation in rejecting it at threshold itself.  We may point out that in HDFC Chubb General Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. ILA Gupta and ors. 1(2007) CPJ 274  this Commission had held that the Insurance Co. is not entitled to repudiate the claim merely on the ground that the vehicle had not been registered.  This view has again been affirmed by this Commission in Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Swami Devi Dayal Hi Tech Education Academy (Revision Petition No.497 of 2012) in the order pronounced on 14.2.2012.

10.    In the result, the revision petition fails to bring out any case of jurisdictional error, material irregularity or illegality in the impugned order, which could justify intervention of this Commission under Section 21 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.  Consequently, the revision petition is dismissed and the order of the Chhattisgarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Appeal No.174 of 2011 is confirmed.  Cost of Rs.20,000/- ( Rupees Twenty Thousand) is awarded in favour of the respondent/Complainant.

.………………Sd/-…………

(V.B.GUPTA,J.)

PRESIDING MEMBER

 

………………Sd/-………….

(VINAY KUMAR)

                                                                                            MEMBER

s./-

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