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Surendra Kumar Bhilawe V/s The New India Assurance Company
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Surendra Kumar Bhilawe V/s The New India Assurance Company
Surendra Kumar Bhilawe V/s The New India Assurance Company

Facts of the Case

This appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court pursuing the order passed by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission for accepting the revision petition filed by the Respondent herein insurer for dismissing the order passed by the District Consumer Redressal Commission, Raipur where the order was passed dismissing the appeal of the state commission of the insurer and dismissing the complaint being filed by the respondent. The appellant herein was a truck driver who owned a truck which was an Ashok Leyland 2214 Truck bearing a registration number C.G 04/JA 3835. The respondent herein is the insurance company which covered the insurance of the truck under policy cover the policy which covered the policy bear a policy number which was 45030031110100001693, the policy was effective from the date 2nd June 2011 to 1st June 2012. On 11th November 2011, the lorry which was loaded with a chemical substance known as Ammonia Nitrate which was to be transported to a town Dhanbad in the state of Bihar. The driver driving the truck carrying the substance was Rajendra Singh. On 13th November 2011 while the truck which commenced its journey from Raipur to Dhanbad met with an accident at the same night near Bhakuwa Toil Police Station in the state of Jharkhand.

The driver driving the truck stated that the reason that he was trying to protect a cow which came in his way and in an attempt to save her he lost the control of the truck and the turtle on the side of the road fell into the river and suffered some additional damages. The driver also claimed that the chemical substances which were being carried in the truck, i.e. ammonia nitrate also washed away in the river. On 16th November 2011, the said accident was reported to the Gumla Police Station a district in Jharkhand. On the day of 25th November 2011, the appellant herein with the insurer filed a complaint through other party named Mohmmad Iliyas Ansari. On receiving such information with regard to the accident, the insurer respondent herein appointed an independent surveyor for assessing the loss that has been incurred after the accident and after the spot survey was conducted the losses that could be recoverable from the insurer was 4,93,500/- which was after recovering the salvage value. Instead of the loss recovery or settlement the respondent an insurance company filed and issued a show-cause notice to the appellant that the burden is upon the appellant to prove that losses that have estimated should be paid in final settlement rather the company claimed that there was no locus standii by the appellant as he has already sold the truck to Mohammad Iliyas Ansari and though the registered owner was still the appellant it does not make him worthy to receive any compensation.

Issues of the Case

  1. Whether the contention made by the Insurer company valid?
  2. Whether the appellant herein is not liable for any compensation?


The Honorable Supreme Court after hearing the learned counsels representing both the parties in the matter above and considering the facts and the precedents submitted established by the Honorable Judges to support the prayers and pleadings of the parties in the matter above states its observation herein that states that there were facts in the case that were neglected by the honorable commission by such facts which were not neglected at the fault of the commission but the court was of the opinion that such facts did not raise in front of the commission that it could’ve changed decision or to revert the decision to the commission for deciding the matter with a new angle. The Honorable Supreme Court observes that at any given point of time any court whether a trial court or district court relies on the provisions some act as applicable or if the contention raised by any such person that falls within the act should rely on the details of the matter and its compliance with the law and not to the law in isolation. In the court’s opinion, section 19 and 20 of the Sales of Goods Act which deal with the transfer of the ownership is of no assistance to the insurer.

The property of any person will be transferred by any party not when it is transferred but at the time when any party intends to transfer the property and such property will be free from any encumbrance. The court finds that it is absolute that when there is an impediment on the transfer of any property such NOC from any financial institution, any transfer will be valid only after the impediment is removed. The court also is of the opinion that the national commission overlooked the definition of the owner as per the Motor Vehicle Act and allowing the court interpretation it is confirmed that the national commission also overlooked other provision of the law such as section 39-41, 50, 51, 66, 69, 82, 84 and other few provisions relevant in this matter. The principle applicable in the above matter is no fault liability where if the case culminates into death or permanent disablement of the driver the owner or if the case may be owners are jointly and severally liable for payment of such compensation. The court has a reason to believe that the contention of the national commission is about the fact that the registration of truck in the owner’s name is also not sustainable. The court also finds that the national commission has failed to notice the applicability of section 157 of the Act.

The Supreme Court finds that deficiency in the application of the law by the commission results in a fatal judgment, so this court decides to set aside the order by the national commission and allows the appeal. The district forum penalty of Rs. 4,93,500/- was found grossly inadequate and set aside the court order the insurer to pay a composite sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- to the appellant for a reason mentioned and such amount should be paid to the appellant within six weeks from the order.

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