The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in its recent revision petition decided on 29th January 2018 found no merit; it is the case of Kaustubh Gajanan Dixit Vs. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ors, Mr Kaustubh owned a ford fiesta which was insured by the opponent Oriental Insursance Co. It is stated in the consumer complaint that the complainant wanted to take the said car to Pune (Maharashtra) for servicing, but since he was occupied with some personal work, he asked his childhood friend Shridhar Shantaram Athavale to take the car to Pune on 04.01.2013. Another friend of the complainant, Sainath Narayan Kalzunkar told him that his acquaintance Mr. Panda, Manager at RFPL wanted to go to Pune with his wife and hence, they decided that the car shall be taken to Pune on 04.01.2013 by Shridhar Shantaram Athavale alongwith Mr. Panda and his wife. However, when the vehicle started back from Pune on the next day, i.e., 05.01.2013 after servicing, alongwith Mr. Panda and his wife, it met with an accident at 3:30 AM on 06.01.2013, when it dashed against a tree near Chikhali, Ta-guhagar. The car was towed to Kolhapur and taken to the Planet Ford Service Centre. The OP Insurance Company was informed about the incident and claim was also filed with them. As admitted by him in the consumer complaint, the complainant wrongly stated in the claim form that he had been driving the car at the time of the accident. However, despite submitting all necessary documents to the Insurance Company, the claim was not paid, rather the same was rejected on the ground that the vehicle was being used for hiring purpose. The complainant filed the consumer complaint in question, seeking directions to the OP Insurance Company to pay him a sum of 5,87,700/- as compensation alongwith interest @ 15% p.a. and also compensation on various other grounds.
The complaint was resisted by the OP Insurance Company by filing a written statement before the District Forum, in which they stated that the car was rented out to Mr. Panda, Manger, RGPL which was violation of the terms and conditions of the Insurance Policy. Further, the car was being driven by Shridhar Shantaram Athavale at the time of the accident, whereas the complainant made a wrong statement at the time of filing the claim that he himself was driving the said car. As per the investigation got carried out by the OP Insurance Company, the driver Shridhar Shantaram Athavale gave an affidavit, saying that the vehicle was hired by Mr. Panda and his wife. Mr. Panda also stated in his affidavit that he had hired the car from the complainant for travelling to Pune. The complainant had, therefore, no right to demand any compensation from the OP Insurance Company due to his fraudulent conduct, and hence, the complaint deserved to be dismissed.
In the present case, it has been established that the vehicle had been given on hire to Mr. Panda and his wife for travelling to Pune. There are affidavits on record in support of this contention as brought out in the report of the investigator. However, in addition to the issue of hire, there is another aspect of the case that the complainant made a false and misleading statement before the OP Insurance Company, while submitting his claim that he was himself driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. This version is admitted by the complainant in the body of the consumer complaint as well. The State Commission as well as the District Forum have, therefore, rightly observed that the complainant tried to suppress material facts from the OP Insurance Company by making false and misleading statements before them. In the light of these facts, it is held that the consumer fora rightly came to the conclusion that the complainant was not entitled to be granted any compensation in terms of the insurance policy in question. There is, therefore, no illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the orders passed by the consumer fora below. Further, it is a settled legal proposition that interference in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction is to be made only if there is a material defect or jurisdictional error in the concurrent findings recorded by the consumer fora below. We are supported in this contention in the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in “Rubi Chandra Dutta vs. United India Insurance Co. Ltd.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission therefore found no merit in the revision petition and dismissed it on the ground that there was breach of the terms and conditions plus there was misrepresentation of material facts.