K.S. Chaudhari, Presiding Member
This revision petition has been filed by the petitioner against the order dated 29.5.2013 passed by the Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh (in short, the State Commission) in Appeal No. 1835/2009 “ The Oriental Ins. Co. Ltd. Vs. Ms. Paramjit Kaur by which, while allowing appeal, order of District Forum allowing complaint was set aside.
2. Brief facts of the case are that complainant/petitioner was registered owner of Scorpio PB 11 AB 1518, which was insured by OP/respondent for a period of one year from 8.6.2007 to 7.6.2008. On 16.1.2008, Tarsem Singh, driver of the complainant was going from Delhi to Patiala and on the way, he parked the vehicle near Sukhdev Dhaba for taking meals. During this period, vehicle was stolen by some unknown person when driver went for call of nature. FIR was lodged on 16.1.2008, but car could not be traced. Insurance Company was also intimated about the theft of vehicle. Claim was lodged with insurance company, which was repudiated on flimsy grounds. Alleging deficiency on the part of OP, complainant filed complaint before District Forum. OP resisted complaint, admitted insurance, but submitted that driver of the vehicle allowed unknown person to travel in the car and failed to take reasonable care and safeguard the vehicle from loss and due to negligence of the driver of the car, vehicle was stolen, which amounted to violation of terms and conditions of the policy. It was further submitted that driver himself handed over keys of the car to unknown person and prayed for dismissal of complaint. Learned District Forum after hearing both the parties partly allowed complaint and directed OP to pay 75% of the insured amount Rs. 5,00,000/- along with 8% p.a. interest and further granted cost of Rs.5,000/-. Appeal filed by the OP was allowed by learned State Commission vide impugned order against which, this revision petition has been filed.
3. Heard learned Counsel for the parties finally at admission stage and perused record.
4. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that inspite of no evidence of handing over keys by driver of the vehicle to unknown person, learned State Commission committed error in allowing appeal and dismissing complaint; hence, revision petition be allowed and impugned order be set aside. On the other hand, learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that order passed by learned State Commission is in accordance with law; hence, revision petition be dismissed.
5. Driver of the vehicle Tarsem Singh lodged report on 16.1.2008 and submitted that while returning back, he gave lift to one Sardar, aged 30 years. He further mentioned in the report that he along with that person took meals at Sukhdev Dhaba and came near the vehicle where it was parked. At that time, he told unknown person that he would be returning after attending natures call. That unknown person asked him to give keys of the car so that he may sit in the vehicle. It was further mentioned in the report that when he returned back to parking place after attending natures call, he did not find Scorpio. By perusal of FIR it may be inferred that either Tarsem Singh handed over keys of the vehicle to unknown person, who was coming with him or he left keys in the vehicle and unknown person sat in the vehicle when Tarsem Singh went for attending natures call.
6. In the complaint filed before District Forum, complainant purposely not mentioned facts of FIR that some unknown person was given lift by driver Tarsem Singh who has stolen the vehicle when Tarsem Singh went to attend call of nature. Even in the affidavit filed before District Forum, Tarsem Singh has purposely suppressed facts mentioned in the FIR about giving lift to the unknown Sardar of about 30 years of age.
7. Perusal of investigation report prepared by Royal Associates reveals that Tarsem Singh improved his statement before the Surveyor and submitted that other person also took meals with him at Sukhdev Dhaba. Later on, he locked the vehicle, got keys with him and went to bathroom and then another person fled away with Scorpio. In FIR it has nowhere been mentioned that Tarsem Singh locked the vehicle and kept keys with him, but perusal of FIR reveals that either he left the keys in the vehicle or vehicle was not locked and unknown person was sitting in the vehicle when Tarsem Singh went for attending natures call. Had he been in possession of key, he should have mentioned in FIR and should also have handed over to Police along with FIR.
8. Learned State Commission has not committed any error in holding that driver of the vehicle failed to take reasonable steps of safeguarding the vehicle, which amounted to violation of Condition No. 5 of terms and conditions of the policy. As driver of the vehicle was himself guilty and negligent which amounted to violation of the terms and conditions of policy, we do not find any illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the impugned order and revision petition is liable to be dismissed.
9. Admittedly, District Forum allowed 75% of the claim on non-standard basis holding that there was breach of condition of policy. If there was no breach of condition of any policy, complainant should have filed appeal for claiming 100% value of the vehicle and in such circumstances, it can be very well be inferred that complainants driver violated terms and conditions of the policy and District Forum committed error in allowing complaint partly.
10. Consequently, revision petition filed by the petitioner is dismissed at admission stage with no order as to costs.