Delay in claim, not a ground for rejection: SC

It was held by the Supreme Court that the insurance company could not have repudiated the claim merely on the ground that the consumer intimated them about the theft, after a long period of time. This was ruled out by the Supreme Court Bench comprising of  Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela M. Trivedi in the matter concerning ‘Jaina Construction Company v The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd & Anr.’ in CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1069 OF 2022, decided on 11 February,2022.

The present appeal arose from the grievance that the respondent had from the order passed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in Petition No. 1104 of 2016 where NCDRC set aside the orders of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum & Dispute Consumer Redressal Forum.

The facts of the case are as such that the appellant had  a vehicle which was insured with the Insurance Company. The vehicle got stolen following which an FIR was lodged, the thieves were caught. However, there was no trace of the vehicle. Thus, the complainant lodged a claim for insurance with the insurance company. The company repudiated the claim stating breach of condition since there was a delay in lodging the claim. The claim was not settled within reasonable time & thus, the complainant filed the case in front of DCDRF, Gurgaon. The DCDRF allowed the claimant’s complaint & the SCDRF dismissed the appeal upholding DCDRF’s ruling. The respondent then appealed to NCDRF which set aside the orders passed by the inferior forums. This brought the present appeal to the apex court.

The court, after hearing the counsels & observing the facts and law in the present case, ruled that it is a noteworthy fact that the complaint was lodged immediately. The company repudiated the claim not on ground of genuineness but delay. When the complaint was found to be genuine, the company could not have repudiated the claim merely on the ground that there was a delay in informing the Company with regard to the theft.

The court rules out that the NCDRC should not have set aside the orders of the state and district forums. The order of the National formal was erroneous and was therefore, quashed.

Click here to view the judgement.

Reviewed by Namisha Choudhary.

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