A state insurance firm has been asked by a city district consumer forum to pay a Central Delhi NGO Rs 4.50 lakh as reimbursement of the cost of its stolen vehicle,besides another Rs 25,000 as compensation for its refusal to settle the claim.
The Central Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum passed its order on plea by NGO St Joseph’s Service Society,which said the New India Assurance Company Ltd (NIACL) with which its vehicle was insured had rejected its claim saying that the stolen vehicle was recovered from Assam.
“Pay to the complainant (NGO) the agreed claimed amount of Rs 4.5 lakh,a sum of Rs 20,000 for causing harassment and a sum of Rs 5,000 as litigation charges,” the bench presided by B B Chaudhary directed the insurance firm.
The NGO,represented by Father Joby Padayattil,said the additional district magistrate of Assam had refused to release the vehicle seized by the state police on the ground that its particulars did not tally with that of the stolen Mahindra Bolera SLX which was owned by the NGO.
In its reply,NIACL said it had found out that the stolen vehicle had been recovered by the Assam Police and accordingly it had informed the NGO.
The insurance firm had contended it was the duty of the insured (NGO) to take appropriate measures for taking custody of the stolen vehicle.
The forum,however,rejected the NIACL’s contention saying “the order passed by the judicial authority was binding upon the parties unless it was set aside by an appellate authority.”
“In view of the order of additional district magistrate,Assam,the fact remains that the recovered vehicle was not the stolen vehicle of the complainant (NGO). Consequently,the insurance company could not have declined the claim of the complainant,” it said.