NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
NEW DELHI
 
REVISION PETITION NO. 430 OF 2017
(Against the Order dated 08/08/2016 in Appeal No. 1018/2012 of the State Commission Delhi)
1. BRANCH MANAGER, NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD.
NATIONAL LEGAL VERTICAL, 2E/9, JHANDEWALAN, EXTN.
NEW DELHI-110055
...........Petitioner(s)
Versus 
1. MAHENDER PAL VAID
R/O. A-252, NEHRU VIHAR, TIMARPUR,
NEW DELHI-110054
NEW DELHI-110024
...........Respondent(s)

BEFORE: 
 HON'BLE AVM J. RAJENDRA, AVSM VSM (Retd.),PRESIDING MEMBER

FOR THE PETITIONER :
FOR THE PETITIONER : MR.VARUN SINGH, ADVOCATE
MR. S. WADHWA, ADVOCATE
FOR THE RESPONDENT :
FOR THE RESPONDENT : MS. NIMISHA GUPTA, ADVOCATE
WITH AUTHORITY LETTER

Dated : 12 April 2024
ORDER

1.      The present Revision Petition has been filed by the Petitioner/ OP under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (“the Act”) against the impugned order dated 08.08.2016, passed by the learned State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi (‘the State Commission’) in First Appeal No.1018/2012 wherein the State Commission dismissed the Appeal filed by the Petitioner/OP against the order passed by the learned District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-VI, Distt. New Delhi (‘the District Forum’) dated 24.08.2012 wherein the District Forum had allowed the Complaint.

 

2.      For convenience, the parties are referred to as placed in the original Complaint filed before the District Forum.

 

3.      Brief facts of the case, as per the Complainant, are that he purchased a Maruti/Alto Lxi No.DL-5CC-9018 and the vehicle was insured by Petitioner/OP vide policy No. 1425756 from 07.10.2006 to 06.10.2007. On 27/28.10.2006, the said car was stolen within the limits of Timarpur Police Station. A complaint was filed on 28.10.2006 vide DD No.10B and the Petitioner/OP was also informed. The Complainant filed a claim before the Petitioner/OP and the same was repudiated on the ground of delayed intimation to the insurer. Aggrieved by the repudiation, he filed a Consumer Complaint before District Forum seeking insured amount of Rs.2,10,000/- with interest @ 24% per annum and Rs.1 Lakh each towards mental pain and financial loss.

 

4.      In their reply, the OP contended that the Complainant did not intimate about the theft of the vehicle to the Insurance Company immediately.  The said intimation was received on 19.12.2006 by the Insurance Company with a delay of 51 days which violation of condition No.1 of the policy in question.

 

5.      The learned District Forum vide Order dated 24.08.2012 allowed the complaint and relevant portion is as under:-

  “In reading of above condition shows that this is in two parts. First part is for reporting to company in the case of accident or damage. The second part highlighted above is in relation to criminal act like theft. In that case, the duty is to give immediate notice to police, and request of co- operation with the company in seeking the connection of offender. The complainant has placed a record Annexure C. which is copy of D.D. No.IOB dated 28.10.2006, Police Station, Timarpur, Delhi, informing of theft of vehicle immediately, after theft. In our view, complainant has complied with the condition, and OP cannot rely in delay in informing OP, in view of condition No.1 explained above.

 

Once the case is sent untraced, that duty ends, and OP cannot repudiate claim on the ground of delay etc., Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Nitin Khandelwal held that breach of conditions is not germane in a case of theft. In this case, OP, has not disputed theft, but contends delay, which is not thus complaint in evidence para (6) shows that he also informed OP officials, who waited FIR. In these circumstances, we hold guilty of deficiency, and direct OP to pay the claimed amount of Rs.2.10,000/- as per rules, and also pay compensation of Rs.30,000/- for harassment and litigation expenses to complainant.

 

 The order shall be complied within 30 days of the receipt of the copy of the order; otherwise action can be taken under Section 25 / 27 of the Consumer Protection Act.”

 

6.      Being aggrieved by the order of the learned District Forum, the Petitioner/OP – Insurer filed Appeal No.1018/2012, and the learned State Commission vide order dated 08.08.2016 dismissed the Appeal with the following observations:

5) I have heard the arguments addressed by the Counsel for the appellant/insurance company Sh. Manoj Ranjan Sinha Advocate. Ld. Counsel for the appellant has relied upon the case of National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Trilochan Jane decided by the Hon'ble National Commission in First Appeal No. 321/2005 on 09.12.2009. The case of the National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Nitin Khandelwal, (2008) II SCC 256 was noticed in the said case. In the case of Nitin Khandelwal (Supra) it was observed by the Hon'ble Apex Court that the breach of condition of the policy was not germane Hon'ble National Commission held that the delay in lodging the FIR could be fatal to the case.

 

6) Coming to the present case, admittedly the complainant informed the police station concerned one hour after the incidence of theft. Condition No. 1 of the policy called upon the complainant to give immediate notice to the police. The said condition stood complied with. It is not the case of the appellant that the complainant did not inform the police on the date of incident. In the circumstances, I am of the considered opinion that the appeal is devoid of merits.  The same is hence dismissed.”

 

 

7.      Being dissatisfied by the Impugned Order dated 08.08.2016 passed by the State Commission, the Petitioner/OP filed the instant Revision Petition bearing No.430 of 2017.

8.      The learned Counsel for the Petitioner/OP argued that there was a clear violation of the terms and conditions of the policy by the Complainant. The policy explicitly states that the Claim for theft of the vehicle is not payable if theft is not reported to the police and Insurer within a reasonable time of the theft occurred on 28.10.2006. However, the Petitioner/OP was informed about the incident only on 19.12.2006 with the delay of 51 days. As a result, repudiation of the claim by Petitioner/OP is justified. He sought to set aside the impugned orders passed by the Fora below and relied on the following judgments:

(i) Reliance General Ins. Co. Ltd. vs. Jai Prakash, 2016 SCC NCDRC 20;

(ii) Shriram General Ins. Co. Ltd. vs. Mahender Jat, 2014 SCC NCDRC 902;

(iii) National Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Sukram Pal, R.P. No.3765 of 2014;

(iv) New India Ass. Co. Ltd. vs. Trilochan Jane, (2009) NCDRC 200;

(v) Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd. Vs. Garg Sons International, (2014) 1 SCC 686.

9.      The learned Counsel for the Respondent/Complainant has argued in favour of concurrent findings of the impugned orders passed by the Fora below.  She sought to dismiss the Revision Petition with costs and relied upon the following judgments:

(i) Gurshinder Singh Vs. Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd., 2020 (11) SCC 612;

(ii) Om Prakash vs. Reliance General Ins. and Anr., Civil Appeal No.15611 of 2017 decided on 04.10.2017 by the Hon’ble Supreme Court;

(iii) Jaina Construction Company Vs. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., (2022) 4 SCC 527.

10.    I have examined the pleadings and associated documents placed on record and rendered thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced by the learned Counsels for both the parties.

 

11.    The main issue arises in the matter is the delay in intimation to the police and insurance company. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Gurshinder Singh Vs. Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd., 2020 (11) SCC 612, the delay in intimating the insurance company about the theft of vehicle in question is not an issue.

12.    The learned District Forum issued a well-reasoned order based on evidence and arguments advanced before it. The learned State Commission, after hearing both parties, determined that the District Forum's order required no intervention. It is a well settled position in law that revision under section 58(1)(b) of the Act, 2019 confers very limited jurisdiction on this Commission. In the present case, there are concurrent findings of the facts and revisional jurisdiction of this Commission is limited. On due consideration of the entire matter, I do not find any illegality, material irregularity or jurisdictional error in the impugned Order passed by the State Commission warranting any interference in revisional jurisdiction under Act. I also place reliance upon the ratio in ‘Rubi (Chandra) Dutta Vs. M/s United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2011) 11 SCC 269.

13.    Further, Hon’ble Supreme Court in ‘Sunil Kumar Maity vs. SBI & Anr.  Civil Appeal No. 432 OF 2022 Order dated 21.01.2022 observed:-

“9. It is needless to say that the revisional jurisdiction of the National Commission under Section 21(b) of the said Act is extremely limited. It should be exercised only in case as contemplated within the parameters specified in the said provision, namely when it appears to the National Commission that the State Commission had exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or had failed to exercise jurisdiction so vested, or had acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity. In the instant case, the National Commission itself had exceeded its revisional jurisdiction by calling for the report from the respondent-bank and solely relying upon such report, had come to the conclusion that the two fora below had erred in not undertaking the requisite in-depth appraisal of the case that was required. .....”

14.    Similarly, Hon'ble Supreme Court in Rajiv Shukla Vs. Gold Rush Sales and Services Ltd. (2022) 9 SCC 31 has held that:- 

As per Section 21(b) the National Commission shall have jurisdiction to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised its jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity. Thus, the powers of the National Commission are very limited. Only in a case where it is found that the State Commission has exercised its jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise the jurisdiction so vested illegally or with material irregularity, the National Commission would be justified in exercising the revisional jurisdiction. In exercising of revisional jurisdiction the National Commission has no jurisdiction to interfere with the concurrent findings recorded by the District Forum and the State Commission which are on appreciation of evidence on record.

 

15.    Based on the discussion above, I do not find any merit in the present Revision Petition and the same is, therefore, Dismissed. Consequently, the impugned Order passed by the learned State Commission is upheld.

 

16.    Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the present case, there shall be no order as to costs.

 

17.    All pending Applications, if any, also stand disposed of accordingly.

 
...................................................................................
AVM J. RAJENDRA, AVSM VSM (Retd.)
PRESIDING MEMBER