Not paid insurance amount, firm told to shell out Rs5 lakh

Not paid insurance amount, firm told to shell out Rs5 lakh

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 2

The District Permanent Lok Adalat (PLA) in its recent judgment has directed an insurance company to pay Rs5,09,200 as compensation to a resident for non-compliance in releasing the insurance amount for over two years.

The insurance company has been also been asked to pay extra litigation expenses of Rs15,000 to the resident.

Applicant, Harjit Singh, through Jatinder Singh, director, Golden Temple Logistics Pvt. Ltd, in his complaint filed on January 30, 2019, had mentioned that his truck (PB-08-DS-2874) insured with the National Insurance Company, Panesar complex, Jalandhar, met with an accident in October 2017. However, the company denied giving the insured amount to him despite the accident taking place within its insurance validity. Not only this, they harassed him on several occasions. The insurance policy was valid from September 2017 to September 2019.

In his complaint, the applicant mentioned that he spent a sum of Rs3,15,346 on the repair of the vehicle after the accident and immediately informed the company to make payment spent on the repair along with Rs50,000 as compensation, but to no avail. Also, providing all details, he told the company that he was holding a valid driving licence, when the accident occurred, however the company manager repudiated his claim and sent him a letter stating that he was holding a valid driving licence to drive MCV and LMV vehicles only and the LMV licence holder was not authorised to drive pickup light goods vehicle. Hence, his claim was not maintainable.

Following this, the applicant submitted a copy of the notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, dated April 16, 2018, according to which the holder of LMV driving licence was competent to drive the vehicle in question but again, the company failed to make any payment. Instead, in its written statement, the company said as per the survey conducted by his surveyor, the truck driver only incurred a loss of Rs2,51,500 and denied making any payment.

The learned counsel of PLA after verifying the objections of both parties sent a notice of conciliation and formulating terms of possible settlement. However, the company denied agreeing to the settlement terms. Subsequently, the court decided to proceed further with the case in terms of provisions of Section 22(C)8 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, and called upon parties to lead their evidence.

After hearing all arguments of both parties, the PLA, including its chairman SS Sahni and members Sushma Handoo and SK Jhulka, considered the claims of the company false. By giving references of previous case and the rules, the counsel came to the conclusion that the applicant was holding a valid licence and he was also authorised to drive light goods vehicle, the gross vehicle weight of which should not exceed 7,500 kg and the gross vehicle weight of vehicle in question was only 2,620kg. In addition, the surveyor of the company did not add the cost of labour included in the repair i.e.Rs1,03,781.

Hence, the company was entitled to pay Rs5,09,200 to the applicant with 7 per cent interest rate per annum and Rs15,000 as litigation cost.