S.A. Saddiqui, Member (Judicial):
1. This appeal has been filed under Section 15 of C.P.Act, 1986 against order dated 31.1.2012 passed by Ld. DCDRF Vikas Bhawan, I.P.Estate, New Delhi, in complaint case No.1664/2008.
2. Relevant facts are that respondent/complainant Shri Suman Kaushik in the capacity of proprietor of Kaushik Tours and Travels, New Delhi obtained insurance policy No.212200/31/2007/1133 for a Tata Sumo Victa LX passenger carrying vehicle bearing Regd. No.DL-IVB-4233 for a sum of Rs.5,07,000/- for one year w.e.f. 21.6.06 to 20.6.07. This vehicle was purchased after securing loan from Tata Motors Finance Ltd. on an EMI of Rs.14,500/- per month. Unfortunately, this vehicle met with an accident on 6.11.2006 at about 1.40 A.M. (mid-night) with a Tata Indica Car No.HR-26P-2700. This vehicle came from Munirka side at a high speed, took turn at a red light signal of Ber Sarai, Hauz Khas, Delhi and straight away collided with the vehicle of the complainant. At the time of accident, driver of Tata Indica was driving the vehicle at a very high speed and in a negligent manner. Tata Sumo was being driven by Shri Rajesh Kumar at a moderate speed. As a result of the accident, vehicle No. DL IV B 4233 belonging to complainant was badly damaged. It was left with Autolink Enterprises (I) P. Ltd. at Bawa Potteries Compound, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, for repair. The insurance company was duly informed about the accident and the place of repair where damaged vehicle was left. The appellant/OP after repair from M/s. Autolink Enterprises (I) P. Ltd. through letter dated 9.5.07 informed the complainant to pick up the repaired vehicle after making payment of Rs.2,99,980/- failing which parking charges @Rs.200/- per day will be charged.
3. The complainant repeatedly requested the respondent for making the payment to M/s. Auto Link Enterprises but the OP/appellant turned a deaf ear. This inaction on the part of the respondent/appellant caused heavy loss of income of Rs.20,000/- per month to the complainant as the vehicle was registered under commercial purposes and the complainant was paying a monthly instalment of Rs.14,500/- to Tata Motors Finance Ltd. The complainant also received two demand notices bearing No.2000/20/10/10972065 dated 12.8.08 and another No.TMF/DELHI/CONC/SEP/1/UPC 579 dated 5.9.08 through counsel of M/s. Tata Motors Finance Ltd. Complainant thus lost livelihood because of the accident of her vehicle and at the same time instalments could not be regularly paid and became due. The complainant was, therefore, compelled to file a consumer complaint in a Consumer Forum having jurisdiction for relief of Rs.13/ lacs.
4. The opposite party contested the claim by filing written statement. The complainant filed rejoinder. Parties led evidence thereafter the Ld. Distt. Forum passed the impugned order dated 31.1.11 whereby OP/appellant was directed to settle the matter on non-standard basis within a period of 30 days, i.e. payment of 75% of the assessed loss.
5. The OP Insurance Company felt aggrieved and preferred this appeal mainly on the following grounds :
i) That the impugned order dated 31.1.2012 was totally a silent order as it does not provide reasons of passing the same. It is not also based on evidence on record.
ii) That the Ld. District Forum while passing impugned order failed to give valid reasons in arriving at the conclusions as to how and why insurance company should settle the claim on non-standard basis in contradiction with the conditions of the contract. It also failed to take into notice that under Motor Vehicles Act, it was a mandatory requirement that the person driving the vehicle should possess a valid driving licence. It was established beyond doubt in the present case that the driver of the damaged vehicle was not holding a valid driving licence at the time of accident. The driving licence was found fake.
iii) That Ld. Forum did not take notice of the investigators report, M/S Kapoor Associates alongwith report of the concerned RTO Aligarh showing that the driving licence of Shri Rajesh Kumar who was driving the vehicle at the time of accident was not in his name. It was found in the name of Shri Sunil Kumar that too for driving motor cycle whereas Sh.Rajesh Kumar was driving commercial vehicle.
iv) The Ld. District Forum failed to consider that complainant was not a consumer under the Act as he/she was running a commercial vehicle.
v) Complainant/respondent filed reply wherein it was maintained that after intimation of the accident surveyor was appointed by the insurance company who assessed loss to the tune of Rs.2,28,574.84 Ps.
6) The complainant/respondent preferred insurance claim. The insurance company sought clarifications about the driving licence of the driver of the vehicle. A copy of driving licence of driver Rajesh Kumar bearing No.3517/Aligarh/98 issued by RTO Aligarh valid till 28.5.07 was submitted by respondent in the office of the appellant company. This licence was got verified from the concerned RTO through investigator M/s. Kapoor Associates whose report has been placed on record. According the Insurance Company the licence was found fake and the same was not found issued in the name of Shri Rajesh Kumar but in the name of some other person. The Insurance Company on this ground repudiated the claim following which complainant/respondent filed consumer complaint claiming an amount of Rs. 13/- lac but the consumer court directed the OP Insurance Company to settle the matter on non-standard basis i.e. for making payment of 75% of the assessed loss by the surveyor.
7) It was submitted that the verification of the driving licence could not be carried out properly. The investigator verified the DL No.3512/90 issued on 16.8.1990 whereas the correct DL No. Of the driving licence of the Rajesh Kumar was 3512/98 issued on 15.3.98. The claim has been disallowed on the basis of this DL and not on the basis of DL No.3512/90. Thus, it was wrong to say that at the time of accident driver Rajesh Kumar was not holding a valid driving licence as alleged by the Insurance Company. The fact of wrong verification of DL was brought to the notice of the Honble District Forum but Honble District Forum erred in not appreciating the contention of complainant/respondent and passed an order for settling the claim on non-standard basis. He emphasised that non-settlement of the case of a respondent for a very long time on frivolous ground is by itself a gross deficiency of service on the part of the appellant.
8) We have heard Shri R.N.Sharma, Ld. Counsel for the appellant and Shri Dharam Vir Kaushik, Ld. Counsel for respondent at length. We have also perused the record carefully.
At this stage certain undisputed facts are to be noted:
i) The factum of insurance of the damaged vehicle has not been disputed, it has further not been disputed that final surveyor assessed loss of the vehicle to the tune of Rs.2,28,574.84 Ps.
ii) The dispute was regarding the holding of valid driving licence by the driver of the damaged vehicle.
iii) One Shri Rajesh Kumar was driving the Tata Sumo vehicle bearing No.DL-4B-4233 with the company staff and was going from Okhla to Uttam Nagar and the vehicle met with an accident with a Tata Indica due to rash and negligent driving of the Tata Indica driver. According to complainant/respondent at the time of accident Rajesh Kumar was holding a valid driving licence bearing DL No. 3512/98 dated 15.3.1998 valid till 28.5.07 but the report of M/s. Kapoor Associates investigators alongwith report of RTO Aligarh was the report of DL512/Aligarh/90/16.8.90. This DL was issued in the name of Sunil Kumar Sharma and not in the name of Rajesh Kumar. It was thus a wrong driving licence, was got verified which was made the basis of the repudiation of the insurance claim of the complainant/respondent.
9) At this stage it is pertinent to quote the impugned order dated 31.1.12 passed by Ld. District Forum œ.....OP is directed to settle the matter on non-standard basis within 30 days.....?. Undoubtedly, this order was a final order after pleadings of the parties were completed but this order is purely a non-speaking order.
10) The issue of valid or fake driving licence has not been touched. No reason was given as to why OP should settle the matter on non-standard basis. The law does not permit any court/forum to pass an arbitrary order. The final order should be well reasoned and a speaking order. Brevity is desirable but it does not absolve the courts from giving brief reasons for arriving at a conclusion whenever a final order is to be passed. It should be a speaking order indicating the reasons for the same.
11) A non-speaking order is no order in the eye of law. It is erroneous and can not be sustained under law. Therefore, in our considered view it is the fittest case which should be remanded back to the District Consumer Forum for a fresh and well reasoned decision in accordance with the law.