National consumer disputes redressalcommission new delhi



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NEW INDIA ASSURANCE CO. LTD. 87, M.G. Road, Fort Mumbai

                                                                … Opposite Party

 BEFORE:

     HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE J. M. MALIK, PRESIDING MEMBER


     HON’BLE DR. S.M. KANTIKAR, MEMBER

 For the Complainant   : Mr. Sureshchandra N. Chataule,  Advocate

For  the Opposite Party : Ms. Nanita Sharma, Advocate

PRONOUNCED ON 8TH JULY, 2014 


                                        O R D E R

JUSTICE J.M. MALIK

1.      M/s. Jeevee Exim, the complainant, a partnership firm, obtained  an  insurance policy from New India Assurance Co. Ltd., in order to cover the risk of  itsjewellery business for the first time, for the period of one year, from 12.08.1999 to 11.08.2000.  The policy  was  renewed for  two  subsequent years. It is alleged that the OP did not furnish  the part of the policy containing the terms and conditions. 

2.      On 24.11.2001, the complainant gave various kinds of diamonds to their  broker, Mr.Jyotin  Bhatt, in the usual and normal course of business, to show it to the customers.  This is the usual practice  in the diamonds market in Mumbai that the goods are given to the broker to sell the same to the customers.  The broker shows  the  diamonds to the customers. Mr. Jyotin Bhatt gave receipt of  jewellery, copy  of which is placed on record as Ex.B.  The details of  the jewellery  were also mentioned there.

3.      Mr. Jyotin Bhatt approached and met one,  Mr.Amit Kapoor, who informed Mr.Jyotin Bhatt that he had good contacts with customers at Banaras, Delhi and Kolkata and they could do better business there.  Thereafter,  they arrived at Banaras, on 06.12.2001.  They stayed at Hotel Ganges.  Thereafter, Mr.AmitKapoor told Mr. Jyotin Bhatt that there was time for opening the market, so they should first go to Kashivishwanath Mandir and Ganga river, and from there, straight to market.  They walked towards the market for about 20-25 minutes near Ganga Ghat called, “Dasha Shawamedh Ghat”.   Mr.Amit Kapoor, finding that they were lone persons there, took chance, pulled down Mr.Jyotin Bhatt  on  the  ground  and  snatched  away/robbed the pouch  which contained  diamonds and some money.  Thereafter, he took to flight in very, very small lane  of  Benaras.  Due to his sudden attack, Mr.Jyotin Bhatt, lost his senses in confusion ofhaving  been  looted.  He  was  unable to catch  hold of Mr.Amit Kapoor due to sudden fall.  He tried to search him but in vain.  He lodged a report with the police.  The  said  robbery was reported in the Dainik Jagran  at  Varanasi, on 13.12.2001, vide copy of newspaper cutting, placed on record as Ex. C.

 4.      The matter  was  reported to New India Assurance Co. Ltd., the opposite party.  A  Surveyor was appointed.  The claim made by the complainant was repudiated on 10.06.2002.   The claim was repudiated by virtue of clause 8 of the Policy conditions.  It is averred that  help was extended to the Surveyor and the details were furnished through letters, Ex. E (colly).  The repudiation is vague and unfathomable.  The complainant is getting insurance from the opposite party  for the last three years, but they never gave that part of  the  policy  containing  the  terms  and conditions of the policy. The complainant sent Advocate’s letter dated 23.07.2002, its copy, marked as Ex.F, has been placed on record. 

 5.      It is alleged that the repudiation by the OP is arbitrary and against the principles of natural justice.  The complainant also referred  to  certain  authorities, namely, State of Orissa Vs. Dr. Miss. Binapani Dei,  AIR 1967 SC 1299,  A.K. Kraipak Vs. Union of India, AIR 1970 SC 150, Ponknanam Traders Vs. Additional ITO, Kottayam, (1972 BITR  508, M/s. Lakshmi Precision Screws Ltd. Vs. Ram Bhagat, 2002 VI AD (SC) 610.

6.      Ultimately, this complaint  was  filed before this Commission on 13.02.2003, with the following prayers :-

a.  Award a sum  of  Rs.30,46,555/- (Rupees thirty lakhs forty six thousand five hundred fifty five only) be passed against the opposite party.


b. 
 The Award for interest at 2 % p.a., our bank rate or at such rate as this Hon’ble Commission deem fit and proper from 07.01.2002, till payment.

c. Cost of Advocate and litigation cost (including travelling, lodging and other expenses), be granted at Rs.50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only).

d. Such other and further reliefs as this Hon’ble Commission deem fit and proper and which required to be granted in the interest of justice, be granted”.

 7.      The Opposite Party, Insurance Company has contested this case.  It  repudiated  the  claim of the complainant on the ground that their  case  was covered under  Exclusion Clause 8 of the Terms and Conditions of  the insurance policy.  It was  averred  that as per the terms and conditions of the policy, the claim of the complainant  was validly repudiated. Exclusion Clause 8 of the policy reads as under :-

Provided always that the company shall not be liable for Under this policy in respect of :

Loss or damage occasioned by theft or dishonesty or any attempt there at committed by  or where such loss or damage has been expedited or in any way sustained or brought about by  :

A. any of the insured’s family members.

B. any servant or traveler or messenger in the employment of the insured.

C. any customer or broker or brokers customer or angadias, cutter or goldsmiths in respect of the property hereby insured entrusted to them by the insured, his or their servants or agents”.

 

8.      We  have  heard  the counsel for the parties at length and have gone through their written synopses.  The principal argument urged by the counsel for the complainant has two prongs.  He contended that the terms and conditions of the policy were never furnished to the complainant.  They were not aware of the same.  They were also not aware that there is Exclusion Clause No.8. Secondly, Counsel for the complainant has invited our attention towards Exb.’A’, which is the true copy of the said Schedule of Policy.  Exb. ‘A’ is a crucial document.  Counsel for the complainant has placed  heavy  reliance on Section II (b) of the said Schedule.  It is an admitted fact that this document was furnished to the complainant and according to counsel for the complainant, this document  proves their case  to  the  hilt.


 

9.      In order to understand the facts  properly, it would be worthwhile  to reproduce Clause (a)  as well as (b) of   Ex.’A’.  The relevant portion runs as follows :

“                             Section II

         Limit for any one loss



a)  Property insured excluding cash & currency notes whilst in the custody of  the insured, his partners, directors, employees, duly constituted attorneys :Rs.50,00,000

 b) Property insured by the insurer excluding cash and currency notes whilst in the custody of brokers or agents or cutters or goldsmiths or stores of diamonds not  in regular employment of the insured, whether directly entrusted by the insured or otherwise subject to appropriate documentary evidence being  available relating to such entrustment: Rs.1,30,00,000 Premium : Rs.81,000



Warranted that if insured property with any one person specified in Section II of the Schedule exceeds Rs.2 lacs, the same shall be placed in an inbuilt locker of a steel cupboard.  But if the property exceeds  Rs.10 Lacs it  must necessarily be secured in a safe of standard make”.

 

 10.    The Surveyor, in his report also mentioned as under :



VI.  Observation

It has been observed in the present claim that the robbery has been made from the possession of  Mr. Jyotin Bhatt (broker) by  the sub-broker, Mr. Amit Kapoor who was employed by the main broker Mr. Jyotin Bhatt and disappear. The main broker could not  tracethe sub-broker and accordingly present claim has been preferred  by  the  insured under Section – II (b) of the Jeweller Block Insurance Policy.

It has been further observed that the present claim falls  within  exclusion  clause 8.  The contents of  exclusion clause 8 is as under :

                        Xxxxxxxx”.

11.    Instead  of   touching  the  heart of  the  problem,  the counsel for the complainant  has just skirted it.  He has failed to show that his case falls  withinSection II of the policy, Ex.’A”.   His case,  even does not  fall  within that Schedule.  However, first of all, it must be pointed out  that  the  complainant  has  not come to the Commission with clean hands.  The complainant did not state as from which year it had started the business.  It also did not state whether  they had obtained  insurance  policy  prior to 3-4 years’ from any other insurance company.   It  candidly admitted  that  it had obtained this insurance policy for the last 3-4 years.  The complainant  is  neither novice nor a gullible person.  It did not obtain the policy for the first time.  Even if it did not receive the terms and conditions,  there is no evidence that it had insisted for the same.  The  story  that  it  did not receive the terms and conditions of the policy   or it had no knowledge about it,  is  not creditworthy.  It’s  story does not just stack up.  It, however, stands proved that  this case  falls  within clause  8 of the policy, irrespective of  the  fact  whether it  was aware of the same or not.   Somebody cannot have solution to his problems if he buries his head in the sand. 

 12.    Most  importantly,  the case of  the complainant  does not fall within the  four  parameters  of  Section II, quoted above.  Although, the complainant has placed heavy reliance on this document, yet, this document does not come to the rescue of the complainant.  A proviso appended with the above said clause which clearly, specifically  and  unequivocally  mentions  that if the insured  property with any person specified in Section II of the Schedule exceeds  Rs.2lacs the  same  shall  be  placed in an inbuilt locker of a  steel cupboard.  But if the property exceeds  Rs.10 Lacs it  must necessarily be secured in a safe of standard make”.

13.    These  ingredients, highlighted above,  are conspicuously missing in this case.  This is an admitted  case of the complainant that the valuable diamonds were kept in a pouch.  The  possibility  of  broker Jyotin Bhatt  and  his   companion, Mr.Amit Kapoor, working in cahoots with each other,  cannot be ruled out. Had  the  diamonds  been  put in a ‘safe’ and Mr.Jyotin Bhatt  had kept the key with him,  it  could  not  have  been  possible  for Mr.Amit Kapoor to snatch  away the diamonds.  The factual position as stated above  is not  permitted  by  any term of  the policy.  Again, was Mr.Jyotin Bhatt authorized to have a sub-broker? All the assumptions raised by the counsel for the complainant are wet.

 14.    Under these circumstances, we find that the claim of the complainant was rightly rejected.  The complainant’s attempt to tilt at windmills does not ring the bell.  The complaint is, therefore, dismissed.   However, there shall be no order as to costs.

 ....…………………………J.

(J. M. MALIK) PRESIDING MEMBER

..…..…………………………

(DR. S.M. KANTIKAR) MEMBER

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI

 




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