National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Asks LIC to Pay Claim, Interest to Policy Holder’s Widow, Trashes Plea of Hiding Ailments

Rejecting Life Insurance Corporation (LIC)’s claim that a policy-holder lied about his health condition at the time of purchasing insurance, the national consumer forum has directed the firm to pay Rs 1.5 lakh along with bonus & interest to his widow.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to pay the claim amount to Sunita Devi, the widow of policy holder Narendra Kumar Pandey, along with bonus & 9 per cent interest on the amount from 2007, when the complaint was filed.

The commission said in a recent order that there was no plea from the insurance company regarding concealment of any pre-existing disease by Pandey at the time of issuance of the policies.

“In the present case, there is no contention of the Insurance Company that at the time when the 2 insurance policies were taken by the insured, he was suffering with some disease & that he had fraudulently concealed this fact.

“The Respondents (Life Insurance Corporation (LIC)) are hereby directed to give sum assured in the policies & bonus thereon within 2 months along with interest at 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the complaint to the date of actual payment to the complainant (Sunita Devi),” said a bench of commission’s presiding member Deepa Sharma & its member C Vishwanath.

Devi’s husband had purchased 2 policies of Rs 1 lakh & Rs 50,000 on Nov 25, 1997, which lapsed due to some monetary problem & was later revived on June 19, 2002. Her husband died on May 24, 2005.

Devi, being his nominee, filed for claim for both the policies.

However, Life Insurance Corporation, approved only Rs 34,300 for the policy of Rs 1,00,000 & Rs 10,750 for the policy of Rs 50,000 on the ground that the insured had concealed the material facts relating to his health at the time of the revival of the policies.

She alleged in her complaint that her husband had undergone a kidney transplantation in the year 2000 for which claim was filed with the insurance company, however, it was rejected stating that kidney transplantation wasn’t covered under the policies.

At the time of revival of the policies, which was done in 2002, the kidney transplantation of Pandey was very well known to the insurance company, Devi said.

The policies were revived after medically examining Pandey & being satisfied about his health condition, she said.

NCDRC Said: ‘ Insurance claim cannot be denied on presumption of pre-existing disease ‘

New Delhi : The NCDRC, the apex consumer commission, has held that an insurance claim cannot be denied on mere presumption that a person might be suffering from a pre-existing disease.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said even if the insured person was suffering from a disease and did not know about it nor was taking any treatment for the same, the claim cannot be denied by an insurance company.

The observations by the commission came while rejecting the revision plea filed by Reliance Life Insurance Co. Ltd against the Maharashtra state commission’s order dismissing its appeal challenging a district forum’s direction to pay Rs 1,12,500 to the husband of one of its policy holders who died of diabetic ketoacidosis.

The district forum had also awarded Rs 5,000 towards physical and mental trauma, and Rs 3,000 as litigation cost to the husband who had filed the complaint against the insurance company.

The NCDRC, while dismissing the revision plea, said the onus to prove the pre-existing disease lies on the insurance company.

The commission also said in its view, diabetes was a lifestyle disease in India and the whole insurance claim cannot be rejected only based on this ground.

Rekha Halder died of diabetic ketoacidosis on June 24, 2011.

She was insured under a policy plan of Reliance Life Insurance Co Ltd since July 12, 2010. However, the insurance company repudiated the claim on the ground of non-disclosure of material information.

On the complaint of Halder’s husband, the district forum of Jalgaon, Maharahstra, had passed an order directing the company to pay him over Rs 1.12 lakh.

NCDRC directs Unitech to refund over Rs 53 lakh to 2 home buyers

New Delhi : The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked real estate giant Unitech to refund over Rs 53 lakh to two home buyers for failing to hand over the possession of an apartment.

The apex consumer commission asked the company to refund within three months Rs 53,73,561 and give a compensation of simple interest at 10 per cent per annum to Gurgaon residents Abhishek and Mani Agarwal for a delay of over seven years in handing over the possession of the apartment.

“Refund the entire principal amount of Rs 53,73,561 to the complainants along with compensation in the form of simple interest at 10 per cent per annum with effect from the date of each payment till the date of full refund,” Presiding Member of the Commission Justice V K Jain said.

The Commission also asked the firm to pay Rs 25,000 as litigation cost to the home buyers.

The Agarwals had booked a residential apartment with Unitech Reliable Projects Limited in a project namely ‘Capella’ in Uniworld City, which was to be developed in Greater Noida.

According to the allotment letter, the apartment was to be delivered to them by November 30, 2011.

However, their allotment was shifted to another project, namely, ‘Unitech Verve’, the possession of which was to be delivered within 15 months, that is, June 29, 2012.

Though the real estate giant assured the home buyers of the possession of the apartment, the Agarwals failed to get their house even after a lapse of more than seven years after which they filed a complaint.

UP Directorate of Prosecution to pay retired employee Rs 6.5L gratuity

The apex consumer commission has dismissed the plea of Directorate of Prosecution of Uttar Pradesh against a state commission order directing it to pay its physically disabled retired employee a gratuity of Rs 6.50 lakh, saying there was an inordinate delay of 700 days in filing the revision petition.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which upheld the order of the state commission on a complaint lodged by an Agra resident alleging non-payment of gratuity on retirement, also noted that the directorate’s appeal was drafted in a “casual and negligent manner” and no explanation was given on filing the late plea.

“It is apparent from a reading of the application and the reasons given, that the application has been drafted in a most casual and negligent manner.

“No dates have been given for this inordinate delay in filing the revision petition. Even after the matter was dismissed for non-prosecution before the State Commission, the petitioner failed to file the revision petition on time.

“The petitioner has failed to explain their repeated absence before the State Commission as also the inordinate delay of 700 days in filing the revision petition,” NCDRC bench headed by Presiding Member Rekha Gupta said.

Complainant Vikram Singh, who worked with Assistant Prosecution Office for 32-and-a-half years and retired in 2009, had alleged that on retirement he had received the provident fund, group insurance and earned leave amount, but was denied the gratuity amount of Rs 6.50 lakh.

He had alleged that the organisation on August 22, 2009 had stopped the gratuity on the grounds that departmental proceedings had been initiated against him for the alleged misappropriation of Rs 50,000.

Being aggrieved by the non-payment of gratuity, he had filed a complaint before a district forum which decided the complaint in his favour. The district forum’s order was challenged by the directorate before the state commission which upheld the decision on September 5, 2014 after which the NCDRC was moved.

During the proceedings, the UP Directorate of Prosecution defended itself over the delay in filing the revision plea contending that its counsel did not follow the case diligently and also did not inform it about the progress.

It had also contended that the delay took place due to the correspondence between various departments for filing the revision petition.

NCDRC orders Railways to compensate for jewellery theft from train

The apex consumer commission has directed the Railways to pay Rs 2.7 lakh to a passenger for theft of her jewellery, including diamonds, from a Rajasthan- bound train, noting that no official came to her rescue even after she raised an alarm.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) bench, while dismissing the revision petition of the Railways, asked it to pay Rs 2.3 lakh, the price of stolen jewellery and cash, to Rajasthan resident Jasmin Mann.

The Commission also upheld the lower fora’s order asking the Railways to pay Rs 30,000 as compensation along with Rs 10,000 as legal cost to Mann, besides the jewellery amount.

It said that there was no justification for the door of the AC coach being left open while the train was running between the two stations.

According to the complaint, on February 8, 2011, Mann was travelling in an AC coach of Delhi Bikaner super fast train from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar.

The complainant claimed that when the train reached Ganganagar station early in the morning next day, some unidentified person snatched her hand bag containing jewellery and cash worth Rs 2.3 lakh.

It further alleged that she was dragged to the door along with the hand bag and in the tussle the chain of the bag was broken and the person escaped with it from the slow-moving train. Mann registered a complaint with the RPF at the next station.

“The coach attendant was negligent in leaving the door open due to which an unauthorised person entered into the reserved AC II Tier coach and committed theft.

“The passenger was dragged to the door and to protect her purse from the thief, she raised hue and cry but neither the attendant nor the TTE or the RPF came to her rescue,” a bench headed by presiding member Rekha Gupta said.

The district forum had asked the Railways to compensate Mann while asking it to pay the amount of the stolen articles, saying it was clear that the theft had occurred due to the carelessness and negligence of the Railways.

The state commission dismissed the appeal of the Railways against which it approached the NCDRC.

Railways had claimed that the passenger was careless with her luggage and she should have been more vigilant in safeguarding her valuables.

The NCDRC, however, rejected these contentions and dismissed the revision petition.

Duty to remove defects is of car manufacturer: NCDRC

Duty to remove defects is of car manufacturer: NCDRC
Duty to remove defects is of car manufacturer: NCDRC

It’s the duty of a car manufacturer to remove the defects in a vehicle and make it roadworthy, the apex consumer commission has said while asking Maruti Suzuki India Limited to refund the price of one of its models to a customer for failing to rectify the complaint.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked the automobile major to refund Rs 3,30,710 to Andhra Pradesh resident Dr K S Kishore while dismissing the revision plea of the car company challenging a state commission order.

“It was the duty of the opposite party (Maruti) to take steps to remove the defects and provide the vehicle to the complainants in a roadworthy condition. From the facts and circumstances on record, it is made out that the OP-2 (Maruti) failed in the task to provide the vehicle in a roadworthy condition to the complainants,” a bench, headed by presiding member B C Gupta, said.

It said there was no reason to differ with the state commission’s order that the dealer did carry out repairs in the vehicle as per the job cards, but was not able to remove the defects and the entire liability to pay the amount fell on the company only.

According to the complaint, Kishore purchased an Alto LX 800 car on January 10, 2003 for Rs 3,30,710 from the dealer Mithra Agencies.

It was alleged that the car had intermittent jerky running in second, third and fourth gear positions and giving out a harsh noise from gear box assembly system.

However, the defects in the vehicle could not be removed despite several visits to the workshop of the dealer.

The district forum allowed the complaint and asked the company and the dealer to refund the amount along with Rs 25,000 compensation and Rs 2,000 as litigation cost.

The dealer denied any deficiency on its part saying there was no defect in the car or its engine and that the noise as alleged by the complainant could be due to defective driving.

The state commission allowed the appeal of the dealer and asked the car manufacturer to refund the amount. It also gave partial respite to Maruti by setting aside the compensation amount of Rs 25,000 but upheld Rs 2,000 litigation cost.

The NCDRC rejected the man’s revision petition for enhancement of compensation and upheld the state commission’s order.

( Source – PTI )

SC asks Unitech to pay compensation to 39 home buyers

SC asks Unitech to pay compensation to 39 home buyers
SC asks Unitech to pay compensation to 39 home buyers

The Supreme Court today directed embattled real estate firm Unitech Residential Resorts Ltd to pay Rs 80,000 each as compensation to 39 home buyers towards litigation cost and causing harassment to them.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar disposed of the appeal filed by the real estate company against the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and asked it to pay the cost within eight weeks to the home buyers.

The 39 home buyers had booked flats in Unitech’s Vista housing project in Gurugram and had sought a refund of their principal amount, totalling Rs 16.55 crore with interest, after the developer, which had promised to give them possession by 2012, delayed it.

The court modified the NCDRC’s order on the issue of compensation and awarded the compensation of Rs 80,000, besides the refund of the money invested by the home buyers who had said that they did not want the flats.

Earlier, the firm had told the court that it has complied with the direction on refund of principal and interest to the home buyers of its Gurugram’s project.

Prior to this, the court had directed the firm to deposit 14 per cent interest on Rs 16.55 crore invested by the 39 buyers and warned it that failure to pay could invite attaching the realtor’s property.

Over two dozen home buyers of Unitech’s housing projects in Noida and Gurugram had approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) after the builder had failed to give them possession of the flats as per schedule.

The consumer forum had asked Unitech to refund the money to the home buyers with interest.

( Source – PTI )

Sahara Group firm to pay Rs 1.43 cr to home buyer for delay

Sahara Group firm to pay Rs 1.43 cr to home buyer for delay
Sahara Group firm to pay Rs 1.43 cr to home buyer for delay

A Sahara Group company has been directed by the apex consumer body to refund over Rs 1.43 crore to a home buyer for its failure to give possession of a bungalow in one of its housing projects near Nagpur.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held Sahara Prime City Ltd (SPCL) deficient in rendering services to the complainant and Maharashtra native Sadhana, who failed to get possession of the bungalow in the ‘Sahara City Homes’ project despite paying the full amount.

“There is no evidence of the possession having been delayed on account of reasons and circumstances beyond the control of the opposite party (SPCL). Therefore, the opposite party is clearly deficient in rendering services to the complainants by not offering possession of the bungalow.

“The complainants cannot be compelled to wait any more for possession of the said bungalow and are entitled to seek refund of the amount paid by them to SPCL, along with appropriate compensation,” the NCDRC bench presided by Justice V K Jain said.

According to the complaint filed by Sadhana, she had booked a residential bungalow in the Nagpur-based housing project of Sahara for a payment of Rs 1,43,56,000 and an allotment letter was issued by the firm on March 2, 2009.

As per the letter, the possession of the bungalow was to be delivered within 38 months from the date of allotment that was by May 2, 2012.

However, the firm not only failed to hand over the possession but could not even complete the construction.

In its order, the NCDRC noted that the Sahara firm did not file any reply within 45 days from the date on which they were served notice because of which their right to file a written reply was closed.

The commission also directed the firm to pay Rs 10,000 as litigation cost to the complainant.

( Source – PTI )

Courts should take pragmatic view of rights of consumers: SC

It is necessary for courts to take a “pragmatic view” of the rights of consumers in disputes concerning them since customers are at a disadvantage as compared to service providers, the Supreme Court has said.

The court noted that Parliament had enacted the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and provision of limitation in the Act cannot be “strictly construed to disadvantage” a consumer in a case where service provider itself was instrumental in causing a delay in settling the claim.

A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and P C Pant observed this while dismissing an appeal filed by the National Insurance Company Ltd against the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC’s) April 2007 order awarding Rs 21.05 lakh along with interest to a firm, insured with it.

“In our opinion, in a dispute concerning a consumer, it is necessary for the courts to take a pragmatic view of the rights of the consumer principally since it is the consumer who is placed at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the supplier of services or goods,” the bench said.

“It is to overcome this disadvantage that a beneficent legislation in the form of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted by Parliament,” it observed.

The bench noted that there was no question of requiring the insured to approach a court of law for adjudication of the claim which has already been made to the insurance firm.

“This would amount to the encouraging avoidable litigation which certainly cannot be the intention of the insurance policies and is in any case not in public interest,” it said.

The apex court was told that Hindustan Safety Glass Works Ltd had taken two policies from the insurance company to cover several risks, including the building, machinery and damage or loss caused due to flood and inundation, for its factory in Kolkata.

On August 6, 1992 there was incessant rain there and the firm said it suffered considerable damage of raw materials, stocks and goods after which it approached the insurance firm for claim.

The insurer had appointed a surveyor, who submitted its report in November 1993 and indicated a loss of about Rs 24 lakhs having been suffered by the insured.

The insurance firm did not accept the report and appointed another surveyor who gave a report in November 1994 assessing the loss suffered by the insured at about Rs 26 lakhs.

After the insured filed a compliant with the NCDRC, the insurance firm repudiated the claim in May, 2001.

The NCDRC

had rejected the contentions of insurance firm and had awarded an amount of Rs 21,05,803 along with interest to the insured.

The apex court also rejected a separate appeal filed by National Insurance Company Ltd against NCDRC’s order passed in connection with a case related to another private firm.

Source : PTI

Railways to compensate employee for rejecting medical claim

Railways to compensate employee for rejecting medical claim
Railways to compensate employee for rejecting medical claim

The Railways has been asked by the apex consumer commission to compensate an employee for rejecting his medical claim on the grounds that it was not an emergency situation when he took his wife to a private hospital.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) upheld Punjab state consumer commission’s order which had directed the Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 15,000 besides reimbursing medical claim of Rs 56,477 to Ludhiana resident Swaran Singh whose wife was admitted in a hospital.

“The State Commission has taken a view that continuous fever and vomiting for six days would have been detrimental to the life of the patient who remained in hospital for almost 10 days.

“Therefore, it was a case of emergency and as such, the rejection of reimbursement claim by the opposite party (Railways) was not justified,” the NCDRC bench headed by its presiding member Justice Ajit Bharihoke said.

According to the complaint, Singh, a retired railway employee, was a beneficiary of Liberalized Health Scheme of the Railway under which his wife was also entitled to the benefit.

The complaint said that Singh’s wife was rushed to a private hospital in an emergency medical condition on March 22, 2009 and was admitted there till April 1, 2009.

The Railways had rejected Singh’s claim saying the insured has to avail treatment in a private/recognized hospital and civil hospital only under such emergency that there was no scope for coming to a Railway hospital.

The district forum had dismissed the complaint saying the emergency for taking treatment at a private hospital without previous approval from the concerned authority was not established.

The state commission allowed Singh’s appeal and asked the Railways to reimburse the amount with compensation.

The Railway’s appeal against the state commission’s order was rejected by the NCDRC.

( Source – PTI )