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Kumari Binita Through Her Natural Guardian Bharatkumar C Banker Vs. Life Insurance Corporation of India and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1992)2GLR1258
AppellantKumari Binita Through Her Natural Guardian Bharatkumar C Banker
RespondentLife Insurance Corporation of India and anr.
Cases ReferredMithoolal v. Life Insurance Corpn. of India
Excerpt:
- - learned counsel further submitted that the terms of contract which have been entered into between the corporation and the petitioner are not vitiated on any of the grounds like coercion, undue influence, fraud misrepresentation etc. banker as well as mr. it is well settled that a contract or a term of it can be set aside only on specified grounds, namely, coercion, fraud, undue influence etc......of his minor daughter binita who was born on 27-10-1988. according to the petitioner, as per the terms of policy the risk on child's life will commence at the age of 18 or 21 years as desired by the proponent and the policy will automatically vest in the child at the end of the deferment period and the policy will participate in profits from the deferred date only. as per the petitioner, the deferred date would be 28th december 2006 in case of his minor daughter binita and therefore, minor binita would be entitled to the benefit of the policy only on attaining the age of 18 years as per the policy and thus said term being unreasonable and unconscionable, it must be directed to be deleted from the policy and the policy agreement should be accordingly modified.3. after the issuance of.....
Judgment:

J.M. Panchal, J.

1. The petitioner who is father of minor daughter named Binita has filed this petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, with a prayer to modify the terms of Insurance Policy No. 830432635 dated 28-12-1988 issued by Branch Manager, C.B.0. No. 9/840 Ahmedabad in the name of Kumari Binita B. Banker.

2. It is the case of the petitioner that on 28-12-1988 the petitioner had taken a Policy under Table-80 for Rs. 25,000/- for a period of 35 years as per terms and conditions of the Children's Anticipated Policy for the benefit of his minor daughter Binita who was born on 27-10-1988. According to the petitioner, as per the terms of Policy the risk on child's life will commence at the age of 18 or 21 years as desired by the proponent and the Policy will automatically vest in the child at the end of the deferment period and the Policy will participate in profits from the Deferred Date only. As per the petitioner, the deferred date would be 28th December 2006 in case of his minor daughter Binita and therefore, minor Binita would be entitled to the benefit of the Policy only on attaining the age of 18 years as per the Policy and thus said term being unreasonable and unconscionable, it must be directed to be deleted from the Policy and the Policy agreement should be accordingly modified.

3. After the issuance of notice to the respondents, an affidavit-in-reply on behalf of respondent No. 1 has been filed by one Mr. N.A.S. Mony, Manager of the respondent No. 1. By the said reply it has been pointed out that the Policy has been issued by the Corporation in the course of its insurance business and that the petitioner is not entitled to invoke the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of the Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for the purpose of obtaining any relief against the first respondent in its commercial function. It has been pointed out in the said reply that as minor children cannot enter into any contract, the plans of Assurance under Tables 80 and 81 have been specifically and specially formulated with a view to enabling children to secure life insurance policies which would vest in them immediately on their attaining age of 18 or age of 21, as the case may be and the risk on their lives would be covered thereafter. The deponent of the said affidavit has further pointed out that life insurance contract is not a contract of indemnity and in order that there shall be insurable interest for the purpose of covering the risk of death, the date of vesting of the Policy under these Tables has to be and has been specified as the date of commencement of risk. It has been further pointed out in the said reply that the petitioner had taken out the Policy under Table 80 and the plan envisaged by the said Policy is a standard plan and it has not been specifically devised for the petitioner. It is pointed out in the said reply that the petitioner had opted for the plan on his own free will for the benefit of his minor daughter and the Corporation has formulated the said plan taking into account several factors such as mortality experience, commencement of risk and other actuarial principles and fixed the premium rates accordingly, and if the terms and conditions applicable to the said plan are modified, the rate of premium would cease to be markable and therefore, it is are not open to the petitioner to seek modification. It has been further explained in the said reply that it is wrong to say that the Policy comes into real existence only after the Deferred date and in terms of the contract, the Policy comes into force as soon as the contract is concluded and it shall remain in force so long as the stipulated premiums are regularly paid. As per the deponent of the reply only the risk on the life of the child will commence on the Deferred date, i.e., on attaining age of 18 as provided in the contract. The plan is basically for the benefit of the child and the provisions of Policy being proper, the modification as sought for should not be granted by this Court.

4. Mr. Banker, party in person, submitted that though the premium is being collected on behalf of the minor in fact the minor would not be entitled to the benefit of Policy till the Deferred date and therefore, the terms of the contract being unreasonable and unconscionable, it must be set aside and the Life Insurance Corporation should be directed to extend the benefit immediately to minor Binita which otherwise would accrue to her on the Deferred date. In support of his contention Mr. Banker relied upon the following decisions:

1. Hari Baksh v. Sham Sundar, Proprietor of Firm Vmrao Singh Sham Sundar and Anr. AIR 1936 Lahore 684.

2. Pradeep Jain v. Union of India : AIR1984SC14 .

3. Raj Rani v. Prem Abid AIR 1949 Bombay 215.

4. Mithoolal v. Life Insurance Corpn. of India : AIR1962SC814 .

5. As against this, Mr. Patel appearing on behalf of respondent No. 1 contended that in fact the terms of the Policy cannot be said to be unreasonable or unconscionable and having understood the terms of the Policy the petitioner had entered into contract with the respondent No. 1-Corporation and therefore, the petitioner is not entitled to any of the reliefs prayed for in the petition. Learned Counsel further submitted that the terms of contract which have been entered into between the Corporation and the petitioner are not vitiated on any of the grounds like coercion, undue influence, fraud misrepresentation etc. and therefore, this Court cannot modify the terms of the Policy in question.

6. I have carefully considered the submissions made by Mr. Banker as well as Mr. Patel appearing on behalf of respondent-Corporation. I have also gone through carefully the judgments which had been cited at bar by Mr. Banker. None of the judgments which have been cited' by Mr. Banker deals with the question of modification of the terms of the contract at the instance of fact. After understanding Table Nos. 80 and 81 for the Children's Anticipated Policy, the Policy was taken by the petitioner for the benefit of his minor daughter. There was no compulsion on the petitioner to enter into the contract he did. He was as free under the law, as any other person to accept or to reject the offer which was made to him by the Children's Anticipated Policy. Having accepted the offer made by the Life Insurance Corporation, now it is not open to the petitioner to challenge the terms of the Policy as being unreasonable. As pointed out in affidavit-in-reply the Corporation formulated Children's Anticipated Policy after taking into account several factors such as mortality experience, commencement of risk, and other actuarial principles the Court would have no jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India to go into reasonableness of principles which were taken into account by the Corporation while specifying terms of the Policy. In fact it has been rightly contended by the learned Advocate for the respondent that the petitioner is not entitled to invoke jurisdiction of this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for the purpose of obtaining any relief against the respondent-Corporation in its commercial function. Writ petition cannot be entertained to challenge reasonableness of contractual obligation voluntarily entered into. It cannot be said that the petitioner was induced to take the Policy by coercion or by undue influence or by fraud or by any misrepresentation. It is well settled that a contract or a term of it can be set aside only on specified grounds, namely, coercion, fraud, undue influence etc. and no such ground is made out by the petitioner for modification of the contract. Even otherwise also the terms of the Children's Anticipated Policy cannot be said to be unreasonable or unconscionable or opposed to public policy at all. The petitioner has not been discriminated against and the petitioner has not been denied the protection of any laws which other similarly situated could claim. Those who contract with open eyes must accept the burden of the contract alongwith its benefits. Thus, looking to the facts of the case, it cannot be said that fixing of Deferred Date under the Policy is in way arbitrary or unreasonable restriction imposed by the Corporation on the fundamental right of the petitioner or his minor daughter guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

In the result, I do not find any substance in the petition and therefore, petition fails. Notice is discharged with no order as to costs.


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