Motorists should beware alighting from their car at night,leaving their vehicle by the roadside to answer the call of nature. City resident Bakshish Singh of Sector 49 had to knock the doors of the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to get the insurance claim for his vehicle after he had left his car for some time on the roadside,and car-jackers sped away with it near the Balongi Bridge at Mohali.
The UT Consumer Forum allowed Singh’s claim and directed the insurance company to compensate him for the loss of the car. The Forum directed the company to pay Rs 5.99 lakh to Singh as the insured declared value of his vehicle along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date on which his claim was denied (December 2009). The Forum also directed the firm to pay Rs 7,000 to Singh as cost of litigation.
The insurance company filed an appeal in the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission regarding the Forum’s order. The Commission upheld the order of the Forum.
Singh had complained to the Forum that in May 2009,he was returning home after attending a function at about 11.45 pm. He stopped near Balongi Bridge in Mohali to answer the call of nature. On coming back to his car,he found four persons fiddling with it. Singh said that when he tried to stop them,they snatched the ignition keys from him and sped away in the car.
The next day,Singh lodged an FIR and also informed the insurance company. After the insurance company did not give him the insured value of the vehicle,he filed a case in the UT Consumer Forum.
In its reply submitted to the Forum regarding the case,the company held that Singh had left the key in the ignition. Hence,he had failed to take due care of his vehicle,which the company said was a violation of the insurance policy,and his claim was refused. The company told the Forum that it was not guilty of negligent service or unfair trade practice in denying Singh’s claim.
The Forum observed that the driver of the vehicle was not required to take the ignition key with him when he went to answer the call of nature,especially when the vehicle was within sight. The Forum concluded that in this light,Singh had not violated the terms of the insurance policy,and directed the company to honour his claim.
The insurance company appealed against this order in the UT Consumer Commission,which upheld the decision. The Commission added that the UT Consumer Disputes National Commission had taken the same stand in a similar case. The Commission dismissed the appeal and directed the firm to follow the orders given by the Forum.