Oral Order: (R. Lakshminarsimha Rao, Member)
1. The unsuccessful complainant is the appellant. He filed complaint seeking for indemnification of the cost of his Motor Cycle bearing registration number AP 09 AZ 1470 which was insured with the appellant under insurance policy bearing number 431100/31/2011/10490 valid for the period from 11.10.2010 to 10.10.2011 for a sum of Rs.30,000/-. The respondent has submitted that the vehicle was taken by Sali Nageswara Rao from his parents house on 27.02.2011. He has submitted that Nageswara rao requested his parents to give the Motor cycle to him to go to Yellandu to meet his wife and believing his words the appellants parents gave the motor cycle to Nageswara rao who had not returned the vehicle and the appellant lodged complaint with JMFC, Yellandu who forwarded the same to the police, Karepalli. The appellant lodged claim with the respondent insurance company on 18.03.2011 and the respondent repudiated the claim consequent to which the complainant was filed before the District Forum.
2. The respondent resisted the claim on the premise that the appellant had not given intimation immediately after occurrence of the incident and he had given the letter on 18.03.2011, more than a month after the incident was occurred. The respondent has contended that as per the terms and conditions of the insurance policy, intimation of theft of the vehicle has to be reported within 48 hours of its occurrence and as such the claim was repudiated. The respondent has submitted that there was no deficiency in service on its part and prayed for dismissal of the complaint.
3. The respondent filed his affidavit and the documents, Exs.A1 to A7. On behalf of the appellants, Legal Manager of the respondent company filed his affidavit and Ex.B-1.
4. The District Forum has dismissed the complaint on the premise that the vehicle was not caused theft of and the appellant cannot claim the sum assured as per the terms of the insurance policy.
5. Feeling aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the complainant has filed the appeal contending that Sali Nageswara Rao had taken the vehicle without his knowledge from his parents house at the village and he did not return the vehicle and thereby he had committed theft of the vehicle. The appellant had contended that the police, Karepalli refused to receive the complaint from him and later registered case U/s. 420,379, 447 and 451 against S. Nageswara Rao and his wife Sandhya.
6. The appellant had contended that the police filed report on 27.12.2011 stating that whereabouts of the accused could not be traced. The appellant had contended that he had given claim intimation over phone and by sending letter dated 18.3.2011 and that the respondent insurance company agreed to pay Rs.30,000/- and later repudiated the claim on 23.2.2012.
7. The counsel for the respondent has filed written arguments.
8. The point for consideration is whether the order of the District Forum suffers from misappreciation of facts or law?
9. The appellant insured his Motor Cycle bearing registration number AP 09 AZ 1470 with the respondent for a sum of `Rs.30,000/- for the period from 11.10.2010 to 10.10.2011. He lodged complaint before the JMFC, Yellandu stating that he kept his motor cycle at his parents house at Karepalli and on 27.02.2011 Sali Nageswara Rao approached his parents and requested them to give the motor cycle to him to go to Yellandu and he had taken the mobile phone of the appellant also which was not returned to him.
10. The appellant had given claim intimation to the respondent insurance company on 18.03.2011. The police filed final report stating that the accused could not be traced and there is no hope to trace out them. The District Forum has opined that the vehicle was not stolen by any unknown person and its custody was given by the appellants father to a known person. As per section -1 of the insurance policy claim for theft of vehicle is not payable if theft is not reported to the respondent within 48 hours of its occurrence.
11. As opined by the District Forum, the vehicle was not stolen and claim can be maintainable only in case of theft of the insured motor cycle. Even if it is presumed for argument sake that it was a case of theft, the appellant has to inform the respondent insurance company within 48 hours of its occurrence. The respondent has given claim intimation after a period of one month. Viewed from any angle, the appellant has no case to claim the sum assured from the respondent insurance company.
12. Honble National Commission in œSuresh Kumar vs National Insurance Company Ltd? R.P.No. 2894 of 2011 decided on 14.03.2013 referred to its decision in œœNew India Assurance Company Ltd vs Trilochan Jane? in F.A.No.325 of 2005 decided on 9.12.2009 wherein it was held that delay in lodging FIR and giving intimation to the insurance company would amount to violation of the terms of the insurance policy and the insurance company cannot be held liable to pay any amount in terms of the insurance policy. In Trilochan Jain (supra) it was observed;
œIn the case of theft where no bodily injury has been caused to the insured, it is incumbent upon the respondent to inform the Police about the theft immediately, say within 24 hours, otherwise, valuable time would be lost in tracing the vehicle. Similarly, the insurer should also be informed within a day or two so that the insurer can verify as to whether any theft had taken place and also to take immediate steps to get the vehicle traced. The insurer can coordinate and cooperate with the Police to trace the car. Delay in reporting to the insurer about the theft of the car for 9 days, would be a violation of condition of the Policy as it deprives the insuresof a valuable right to investigate as to the commission of the theft and to trace/help in tracing the vehicle.
Honble Supreme Court of India in United India Insurance Company Limited v. M/s. Harchand Rai Chandan Lal reported in JT 2004 (8) SC 8 has held that the terms of Policy have to be construed as it is and nothing can be added or subtracted from the same. The Policy provides that in the case of theft, the matter should be reported immediately. In the contest of a theft of the car, word immediately has to be construed strictly to make the insurance company liable to pay the compensation?.
13. In the present case, the loss of motor cycle is not covered by the terms of the insurance policy as the police filed final report stating that it is a case of cheating. In case, the loss of the vehicle is considered as theft, in view of the aforementioned decisions, the appellant is not entitled to the claim. As such this Commission is of the view that the order of the District Forum does not warrant interference in the appeal.
14. In the result, the appeal is dismissed confirming the order of the District Forum. There shall be no separate order as to costs.