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Compensate farmers for crop lost to rain, Bombay HC tells insurance firm

The pleas also sought that in case the insurance company refuses to pay the claims of the farmers, the state government be directed to pay the same.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 11, 2022 7:46:04 am
Compensate farmers for crop lost to rain, Bombay HC tells insurance firmBombay High Court. (File)

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court recently directed Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited to grant compensation/claims of nearly 3.57 lakh farmers from Osmanabad district for post-harvest loss to soyabean crop due to heavy rainfall in the Kharif season of 2020.

The pleas also sought that in case the insurance company refuses to pay the claims of the farmers, the state government be directed to pay the same.

A division bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice S G Mehare on May 6 passed the order in PILs by farmers seeking relief from the state government and insurance company.

The court, while directing the insurance company to pay the compensation, said that if it does not do so within six weeks, the state is required to pay for compensation and insurance company is required to comply with state’s directives for the same.

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Advocate A S Wakure for the petitioners argued that the insurance company was getting huge profits out of the total premium collected by it from farmers, state and the Centre.

The court was informed that the insurance company received over Rs 500 crore as premium under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana (PMFBY) from farmers in Osmanabad, the state and the Centre, and disbursed only Rs 87.83 crore towards claims on merit by 72,325 farmers who applied within or right after 72 hours of the crop loss, as stipulated in the scheme.

While the total area of soyabean crops insured with the company was of 3,61,010 hectares, the affected area was nearly 2 lakh hectares, which was more than 33 per cent of the total insured area.

Additional Government Pleader A R Kale for state government submitted that in March last year, it had directed the company and various authorities to grant farmers’ claims, however, the company ignored such directions and did not pay heed to the reports by competent authorities and did not pay insured some to remaining farmers.

Advocate S G Chapalgaonkar for the insurance company opposed the pleas and questioned maintainability of the same.
The bench held that farmers were not required to intimate the company within 72 hours and it was not feasible as they could not go to their respective farms.

The bench found no substance in the company’s claim that petitioners had sought relief beyond the ambit and scope of the PMFBY. “In our view, the petitioners have thus made out a case for relief claimed,” the bench held and disposed of the pleas.

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