The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ruled
that any delay in the notification of theft to the Police or the
insurer in motor vehicle policies is fatal to the claim in its
judgment of 4 December 2014.
The insured informed the insurer of theft of his vehicle after a
delay of 3 months. The information to police was after a delay of 2
days. The insurer repudiated the claim on the ground that the
enormous delay in notification was in violation of policy
The insured filed a complaint before the District Forum which
allowed his claim on a non-standard basis by applying the principle
laid down by the Supreme Court in Amalendu Sahoo v
OIC AIR 2010 SC 2090, where the Supreme Court had directed
payment of 75% of the claim in case of an accident of a vehicle
which was registered for private use but was being used for
commercial purposes. The State Commission of Rajasthan upheld the
order of the District Forum and the Insurer preferred a Revision
before the National Commission.
National Commission's Decision:
Any delay in informing the police of the theft of a vehicle was
ruled to be fatal to the claim and information must be given
immediately, "..the word immediately has to be construed,
within a reasonable time having due regard to the nature and
circumstances of the case."
The National Commission relied upon the Supreme Court judgment
in the matter of OIC v Parvesh
ChanderChadha (Civil Appeal No 6739 of
2010) to state:
"On account of delayed
intimation, the appellant was deprived of its legitimate right to
get an inquiry conducted into the alleged theft of the vehicle and
make an endeavour to recover the same."
The National Commission noted that a minor delay was also held
to be justification for denial of the claim by a previous judgment
of the National Commission itself:
"In the above case, a delay
of 2 days in lodging the FIR and delay of 9 days in reporting the
matter to the Insurance Company was found fatal."
The National Commission criticised the lower fora's
reliance on Amalendu Sahoo and held:
"It is very clear that the
facts of that case were entirely different because the violation
relates to the nature of use of the vehicle only."
We acted on behalf of the insurer in the matter and were
successful in overturning the judgment of the State Commission.
For further information on this topic please contact
Tuli & Co Tel +91 11 4593 4000, fax +91 11 4593 4001
or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.tuli.biz
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