NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES RERESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION NO. 3689 OF 2009
(From the order dated 24.07.2009 in Appeal No. 2065/2008 of the
State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Uttar Pradesh)
M/s Shiv Ram Gramodyog Sansthan … Petitioner
Through its Secretary
1. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. … Respondents
Thorugh its Divisional Manager
Divisional Office, Maldahiya, Varanasi
Presently through the Manager, Regional Office
United India Insurance Co. Ltd.
IInd Floor, Arif Chamber
Kapoorthala Bagh Complex, Aliganj
Through its Branch Manager, Branch Chandauli
G.T. Road, District Chandauli
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE J.M. MALIK, PRESIDING MEMBER
HON’BLE MR. SURESH CHANDRA, MEMBER
For the Petitioner : Mr. Nikhil Jain, Advocate
For Respondent No.1 : Mr. Kishore Rawat, Advocate
For Respondent No. 2 : Mr. Gautam Gupta, Advocate for
Mr. Aditya Madan, Advodcate
Pronounced on : 29th May, 2012
JUSTICE J. M. MALIK, PRESIDING MEMBER
1. The parties have locked horns over the question whether the complainant/petitioner after accepting the amount in the sum of Rs. 3,27,000/- as full and final settlement is entitled to have the residue amount claimed in the sum of Rs. 2,50,000/- at the initial stage?
2. M/s Shiv Ram Gramodyog Sansthan, the complainant/petitioner runs a Rice Mill Plant at Basaipur, District Chandauli, U.P. The complainant obtained an Insurance Policy from the United India Insurance Co. Ltd., which was valid from 24th July 2003 till 23rd July 2004 for a value of Rs. 30,00,000/-.
3. Unfortunately, on 25th July 2003, around 4.0 A.M., there was a strong storm and heavy rain-fall due to which the roof of Rice Mill collapsed and the water entered into the Rice Mill due to which the raw material, furnished stock, machinery, tin shed and other articles got damaged. The petitioner suffered a loss in the sum of Rs. 25,00,000/-.
4. The said information was furnished to the Insurance Company. Sh. S.P.Singh was deputed as a Surveyor, who surveyed the loss to the tune of Rs. 3,28,300/-. The respondent paid a sum of Rs. 3,27,000/-. The respondents were asked to make the payment of the residue loss but the needful was not done. On 13th May 2005, the United Insurance Company refused to make the remaining payment.
5. The complaint was filed before the District Forum. The learned District Forum allowed the complaint filed by the petitioner and granted a sum of Rs. 15,03,479/- only as outstanding compensation amount. He also granted interest @ 12% per annum from the date of institution of the complaint dated 20thJanuary 2007 till the payment was made.
6. However, the State Commission vide its order dated 24th July 2009, accepted the appeal filed by the United India Insurance Co. and dismissed the Complaint.
7. We have heard the counsel for the parties. The learned counsel for the petitioner denied that the sum of Rs. 3,27,239/- received on 10th February 2004 was not received in full and final payment made by the respondents.
8. “Disbursement (Claims) Voucher” was placed on the records, which clearly, specifically and unequivocally mentions “Amount Rs. 3,28,300/- (Three lacs twenty eight thousand three hundred only) Received from UNITED INDIA INSURANCE CO. LTD. the aforesaid sum in full and final discharge of claims upon them, as per the said particulars.” This voucher bears the signature of petitioner. The respondents have also filed a receipt alongwith it wherein the petitioner has accepted a sum of Rs. 3,27,239/-. This voucher adds steel to this case. This is the most telling and unflappable piece of evidence.
9. It is note-worthy that the petitioner has not set up the plea of fraud, misrepresentation, undue influence or coercion in his pleadings. In the case of “United India Insurance versus Ajmer Singh Cotton & General Mills & Ors. [II (1999) CPJ 10 (SC) the apex court was pleased to hold: -,
“4. ………………… The mere execution of the discharge voucher would not always deprive the consumer from preferring claim with respect to the deficiency in service or consequential benefits arising out of the amount paid in default of the service rendered. Despite execution of the discharge voucher, the consumer may be in a position to satisfy the Tribunal or the Commission under the Act that such discharge voucher or receipt had been obtained from him under the circumstances which can be termed as fraudulent or exercise or undue influence or by mis-representation or the like. If in a given case the consumer satisfies the authority under the Act that the discharge voucher was obtained by fraud, mis-representation, under influence or the like, coercive bargaining compelled by circumstances, the authority before whom the complaint is made would be justified in granting the appropriate relief under the circumstances of each case. The mere execution of the discharge voucher and acceptance of the insurance claim would not estopple insured from making further claim from the insurer but only under the circumstances as noticed earlier. The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums and Commissions constituted under the Act shall also have the power to fasten liability against the Insurance Companies notwithstanding the insurance of the discharge voucher. Such a claim cannot be termed to be fastening the liability against the Insurance Companies over and above the liabilities payable under the contract of insurance envisaged in the policy of insurance. The claim preferred regarding the deficiency of service shall be deemed to be based upon the insurance policy, being covered by the provisions of Section 14 of the Act.
5. In the instant cases the discharge vouchers were admittedly executed voluntarily and the complainants had not alleged their execution under fraud, undue influence, mis-representation or the lie. In the absence of pleadings and evidence the State Commision was justified in dismissing their complaints…………………………”
10. This view was also followed in a case reported in the case of “Raj Kumar versus United India Insurance Co. Ltd. [III (2011) CPJ 354 (NC)]”
11. It is also difficult to fathom as to why the first letter was written 10-11 months, thereafter, this objection was never taken at the earliest possible opportunity.
12. The learned State Commission rightly held that the original complaint filed by the petitioner was barred by time. The same was filed on 20th January 2007 i.e. two years 11 months and 10 days after cheque of Rs. 3,27,230/- had been issued and accepted by the complainant. The petition is without merit and the same is, therefore, dismissed.
(J. M. MALIK, J)