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The matter pertains to a car which was stolen on 24.10.2007. The OP/New India Assurance Company had repudiated the claim on the ground that the Complainant had no insurable interest on the date of loss, as he had already sold vehicle to one Shri Dilprit Singh on 24.7.2007

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

English: Egptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus...

English: Egptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW DELHI

REVISION PETITION NO. 1227 OF 2012

(Against the order dated 28.11.2011 in First Appeal No.931/2009 of the State Commission, Haryana)

 

Dharambir,

S/o Sh. Jhangi Ram

R/o H No.89,

Ram Nagar,

Karnal

Haryana                                                                                                                                                                 ……….Petitioner

 

 

Versus

 

New India Assurance Co. Ltd.

Divisional Office

Gagan Building

G T Road,

Karnal

Haryana

 

Also at

New India Assurance Co. Ltd.,

Regional Office: SCO no.36-37

Sector- 17-A

Chandigarh                                                                                                                                                                     …..Respondent

 

BEFORE

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE  J. M. MALIK,

                              PRESIDING MEMBER

HON’BLE MR. VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER

 

 

For the Petitioner         :   Ms. Renu Verma, Advocate

 

For the Respondent     :   Mr. J.P.N. Shahi, Advocate

 

 

PRONOUNCED ON: 01.11.2012.

ORDER

 

PER MR.VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER

The revision petitioner Shri Dharambir was the Complainant before the District Forum, Karnal.  The matter pertains to a car which was stolen on 24.10.2007.  The OP/New India Assurance Company had repudiated the claim on the ground that the Complainant had no insurable interest on the date of loss, as he had already sold vehicle to one Shri Dilprit Singh on 24.7.2007.  The District Forum examined Shri Dilprit Singh, who stated that he had borrowed the car from the Complainant Dharambir for journey to Chandigarh and had not purchased it from him.  The District Forum therefore allowed the complaint and directed the insurance Company to indemnify the Complainant.  Appeal of the present respondent/New India Assurance Company was allowed by the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on reconsideration of the documentary evidence led before the fora below.

 

2.      Therefore, the main question is whether the petitioner Dharambir was the owner of the car in question or whether it was Dilprit Singh.  The records of the case have been carefully perused by us and the two counsels, Ms. Renu Verma, for the revision petitioner and Mr. J.P.N. Shahi, for the respondent, have been heard.  The main ground of challenge to the impugned order of the State Commission is that the State Commission had failed to consider the statements of the Complainant and Dilprit Singh before the District Forum that they had been misguided by the insurance agent. The revision petition also objects to consideration of certain records by the State Commission on the ground that they were not produce before the District Forum.

 

3.      However, interestingly one of the grounds of challenge to the impugned order comes very close to admitting that the vehicle had infact been sold to DilpritSingh but its ownership  was not transferred as the whole consideration  had not been paid by the buyer, while the liability of the seller to pay the financier was still continuing.  The relevant ground (H) read as follows:-

“That assuming though not admitting that the car was sold by the complainant to Dilpreet Singh, the Hon’ble State Commission should have considered that as per the alleged annexure A-4 the whole consideration/price of the car has not been paid by Dilpreet Singh and the complainant is still liable to pay to the ICICI Bank; hence the ownership of the car remains with the complainant.”

 

4.      A perusal of the impugned order shows that the State Commission has relied upon the following documents in arriving at its findings:-

a)   The FIR filed before the Police (Annexure- 6) on 29.10.2007 was filed by Dilprit Singh, as the owner of the vehicle and not by the Complainant.

 

b)   In the affidavit of 25.9.2007 (Annexure 5), the Complainant Dharambir s/o Jhangi Ram has categorically stated that:-

 

“1. I have sold a Hyundai Accent car bearing Registration no.HR05S-2616 model 2006 engine no.307124 and chassis no.156038 to Sh. DilpreetSingh son of Sh. Harvinder Singh R/o H.No.321-R, Model Town Karnal on 24/7/2007.

 

2. That the deponent has received its payment from the purchaser and balance amount of loan will be paid by the purchaser to the bank/Fi.

 

3. That after 24/7/2007 the purchaser will be responsible for all kinds of accidents, court case, polie challan bank/FI dues against the said vehicle.

 

4. That the deponent has not any objection if the said vehicle be transferred in the name of the purchaser after the clearance of loan dues of bank/FI.”

 

This document not only shows that the vehicle had been sold to Dilprit Singh but also gives the reasons why it has not been registered in the name of the purchaser. Its contents are also in line with Ground H in the revision petition, mentioned earlier in this order.

c)   The Delivery cum-Receipt of the vehicle  (Annexure 4) has been executed 24.7.2007, in a printed form.  It is not only signed by these two persons as the vendor and the vendee but also by two witnesses.

 

d)     In a letter of 3.12.2007 (Annexure 3), addressed by Dilprit Singh to SDM (Registering Authority, Motor Vehicle Karnal) a request is made to the Registering Authority not to register this vehicle in the name of any other persons as it belongs to him. It is also informed that it was stolen on 24.10.2007 and has not been traced since then.

 

5.      The revision petitioner has questioned acceptance of the above documents by the State Commission on the ground that they were not produced before the District Forum.  However, from the records we find that these documents were clearly mentioned in the appeal memorandum of the present respondents before the State Commission.  The revision petitioner was not unrepresented and his counsel was heard by the State Commission.  This would mean that the petitioner/Complainant had full opportunity to question the veracity of any of these documents, if he had wished so. We therefore, do not accept the objection now raised by him in the present proceedings.

 

6.      We find that the above documents considered by the State Commission, clearly establish that the complainant had sold the vehicle to Dilprit Singh before it was stolen. Therefore, the State Commission was right when it held that the OP/Insurance Company had rightly repudiated the claim.

 

7.      On the question of insurable interest, the following two decisions have been cited by the counsel for the petitioner:-

1.      New India Assurance Co. Ltd. Vs. G.N. Sainani, (1997) 6

          SCC 383.

2.      New India Assurance Co. Ltd. Vs. M/s. T.T. Finance Ltd. & Ors., AIR 2011 Delhi, 121.

 

The first related to assignment of the policy of insurance of goods under a Marine insurance policy.  Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the assignee of policy of insurance must have an existing insurable interest in the goods till the time of termination of the insurance so as to entitle him to lodge a complaint as a consumer.  The second case arose from loss of an insured vehicle.  The insurance policy was issued in the name of the finance company and the borrower. The High Court of Delhi held that insurable interest clearly existed in favour of the finance company as it had financed purchase of the vehicle under a hire purchase agreement.  The fact that the name of the lonee was also mentioned in the insurance policy, would make no difference as the contract was between insurance company and the finance company.

8.      The facts in both these cases are totally different and therefore, the case of the revision petitioner does not derive any support from either decision.

9.      In conclusion, we find no substance in this revision petition and dismiss the same for want of merit.  The order of Haryana State Consumer DisputesRedressal Commission in FA No.931 of 2009 is accordingly confirmed.     

.……………Sd/-……………

(J. M. MALIK, J.)

PRESIDING MEMBER

 

……………Sd/-…………….

(VINAY KUMAR)

                                                                                            MEMBER

s./-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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