1. The complainant, the owner of a vehicle bearing No.HR38 MT5991 had taken a policy from the petitioner-company in respect of the aforesaid vehicle and the said policy inter alia included insurance against theft of the vehicle. Alleging that the insured vehicle was stolen from Bahad Muhalla, Bhupendrapuri, Gali No.3, Modinagar, Ghaziabad in the night of 26-09-2003, the respondent/complainant lodged an FIR with the concerned police station and later intimated the petitioner-insurance company. Since the claim came to be rejected by the insurance company the complainant/insured filed a complaint before the Ghaziabad District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (for short, the District Forum) seeking the payment of the entire amount alongwith interest at the rate of 20% per annum, besides the cost of litigation.
2. The complaint was resisted by the petitioner-insurance company primarily on the ground that the vehicle had entered the State of Uttar Pradesh without paying the requisite toll tax thereby violating the provisions of law which required the insured to pay toll tax before entering the said State. This was also the case of the petitioner that violation of law, by not paying toll tax, amounts to breach of the terms of the insurance policy and, therefore, the insurance company was justified in rejecting the claim.
3. The District Forum, vide its order dated 24-12-2007, dismissed the complaint. Being aggrieved from the dismissal of his complaint the insured preferred an appeal before the Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (for short, the State Commission).
4. Vide impugned order dated 16-04-2014 the said Commission allowed the appeal filed by the complainant and directed the petitioner, insurance company, to make payment in terms of the insurance policy, along with interest at the rate of 6% p.a., from the date of filing of the complaint till the date of payment. Being aggrieved from the order of the State Commission, the insurance company is before us by way of this revision petition.
5. The learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the onus was upon the insured to prove that it had not committed violation of law and had paid the requisite toll tax before the vehicle entered the State of Uttar Pradesh from the State of Haryana where the permit had been issued to him.
6. A perusal of the impugned order would show that the case of the complainant was that the toll tax was duly paid and the receipt of payment of the toll tax had been kept in the stolen vehicle. On account of theft of the vehicle it became impossible for the insured to produce the said receipt. The learned counsel for the petitioner submits that no such plea was taken by the complainant before the District Forum. We find that the plea of non-payment of toll tax came to be taken by the petitioner for the first time in the reply/written statement which it had filed before the District Forum. Since the complainant was not called upon to file any rejoinder there was no occasion for it to controvert the said averment by claiming payment of the toll tax. Even otherwise we fail to appreciate how a vehicle which had a permit issued in the State of Haryana could have entered the State of Uttar Pradesh without paying toll tax. The officials of the ‘toll plaza’ at Haryana and Uttar Pradesh border would not allow a vehicle to enter the State of Uttar Pradesh without paying the toll tax. Therefore, we see no reason to differ with the State Commission which has accepted the plea taken by the insured in this regard.
7. As a result, we find no merit in this revision petition and the same is hereby dismissed with cost assessed at Rs.10,000/-.
V. K. JAIN J.
DR. B.C. GUPTA
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI
REVISION PETITION NO. 387 OF 2011
(From the order dated 17.09.2010 in Appeal No. 1601/2007 of Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission)
1. The Manager, AP State Seeds Development Corporation, Industrial Estate, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh
2. The Managing Director, AP State Seeds Development Corporation, 5.10.193, 2nd Floor, HACA Bhavan, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
1. N. Rama Swamy, s/o N. Venkat Swamy r/o Jutur Village, Pamula Pudumandal, Kurnool District Andhra Pradesh
2. The Proprietor M/s. Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara Seeds D. No. 12-107-2, KVR Complex KG Road, Nandikotkur Kurnool District Andhra Pradesh
3. The Proprietor M/s. Rabbavi Seeds D. No. 22-41/F, Seshasheyana Reddy Nagar, Nandikotkur Kurnool District Andhra Pradesh