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The New India Assurance Company Ltd. vs. Sanjeev Balkrishna Shirsat (11.12.

2013 - SCDRC
Maharashtra) : MANU/QT/0026/2013

This Commission in a case of M/s. Jyoti Impex V/s. The New Indian Assurance Company Ltd. & Ors.,
after going through the provisions of the Insurance Act and IRDA Guidelines, 2002, held that statutory
regulations are prescribed for procedure of settlement of claim. Regulation No. 9 of IRDA Guidelines
contemplates that the information of the incident shall be given immediately as early as possible and
the Insurance Company shall immediately respond and, in any case, where Surveyor is required to be
appointed, Surveyor shall be appointed within 72 hours from the intimation of the incident. Sub-
regulation 2 contemplates that the Surveyor shall submit his report within thirty days of his
appointment. In no case, Surveyor shall take more than six months from the date of his appointment
to furnish report.

National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Hindustan Safety Glass Works Ltd. & Anr.

That in the case the event that caused the loss or damage to the insured occurred on 6th August, 1992
when due to heavy incessant rain in Calcutta, the raw materials, stocks and goods, furniture etc. of
the insured were damaged. On the very next day, the insured lodged a claim with National Insurance.
That the surveyor appointed by the Insurance Company took about one year to submit its report. Thus,
the National Insurance itself took more time in surveying or causing a survey of the loss or damage
suffered by the insured. Surely, this entire delay is attributable to National Insurance and cannot
prejudice the claim of the insured more particularly when the insured had lodged a claim well within
time.

That in a dispute concerning a consumer, it is necessary for the Courts to take a pragmatic view of the
rights of the consumer principally since it is the consumer who is placed at a disadvantage vis-à-visthe
supplier of services or goods. It is to overcome this disadvantage that a beneficent legislation in the
form of the Consumer Protection Act was enacted by Parliament.

That the provision of limitation in the Act cannot be strictly construed to disadvantage a consumerin
a case where a supplier of goods or services itself is instrumental in causing a delay in the settlement
of the consumer’s claim.

18. In our opinion, in a dispute concerning a consumer, it is necessary for the courts to take a pragmatic
view of the rights of the consumer principally since it is the consumer who is placed at a disadvantage
vis-à-vis the supplier of services or goods. It is to overcome this disadvantage that a beneficent
legislation in the form of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted by Parliament. The provision
of limitation in the Act cannot be strictly construed to disadvantage a consumer in a case where a
supplier of goods or services itself is instrumental in causing a delay in the settlement of the
consumer’s claim. That being so, we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the National
Commission was quite right in rejecting the contention of National Insurance in this regard.