Citizens' Issues
Reasonableness, Again
How to establish ‘reasonable care’ against an insurer refusing to pay your claims
 
The word has been cropping up in this discourse with increasing regularity. Reasonable care, reasonable man, reasonable woman, etc. The last one attracted a lot of reader attention and feedback.
 
The duty of care has its component of reasonableness. As with the definition of reasonable man, what is the dividing line for the definition of reasonable care? It could be anything, widely varying between two individuals’ perceptions. How that can lead to litigation is our story for the issue.
 
One Mr Kapoor owned a motorcycle. From the data available, it looks like it was a normal bike, costing about Rs60,000/-. In June 2010, the bike was stolen. Fortunately, Mr Kapoor had full insurance, not a third-party cover. Mr Kapoor asked the insurer to make good the loss.
 
At this point, it is necessary to discuss how the system works. In case of  loss of a vehicle, the insured party has to immediately lodge a complaint within a maximum of 24 hours. Jurisdiction lies with the police station where the theft occurred, not the residential thana. If incapable of reporting personally, make sure a friend or a relative does it. Some police stations are chary about taking complaints. If you encounter refusal, just go to the nearest post-office and send the complaint by registered post, or speed post, acknowledgement due. It is at that moment that your clock starts. You have done your job.
 
Next, write to the insurance company. Give the whole history. The insurance policy number, a photocopy of the policy, the place of theft, date and time, when you complained the theft to the police station, a copy of the small chit stating the NC (non-cognisable complaint) number. It is best to remember that documentation is everything. Send a copy of your driving licence, hopefully valid. If the rider was someone else, send his, or her, details. Make sure that you have made all possible efforts to trace the vehicle, asking people in the area; pan-wallahs are good bets. So are urchins and street-dwellers.
 
Next, follow up for a few days with the police station. No insurance company does anything for a month; hoping it was all a mistake; maybe it was taken for a ride and abandoned. Then, get going after the insurer. They will try their level best to stall and prevaricate. No one likes to shell out money.
 
Mr Kapoor must have done all the spadework. So, the insurer found something to shift the blame. It transferred the guilt to the victim! This is where the affair gets murky. Not having any concrete proof against Mr Kapoor, it fell back on subjectives. Accusations that are vague are always difficult to refute. The insurer said that Mr Kapoor “…had not taken reasonable care.”
 
Reasonable care includes locking the vehicle properly. Beyond that, there is no way that the owner can be held responsible. It’s not that he has parked his vehicle in Taliban territory or outside the territorial limits of the country. The insurer was trying to wriggle out.
Mr Kapoor went to a consumer court.
 
Now, you be the judge.
 
This is how the Central Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum decided. It showed its annoyance at the lack of caring on the part of the insurer. Mr Kapoor was four years into the loss. Insurers have a battery of lawyers who represent them. People like Mr Kapoor may have never seen the insides of a court. The insurer was not only made to pay the cost of the bike less the 10% deduction (for usage), but also made to pay Rs20,000/- as penalty and damages.
 
The system works, slowly but surely. Hallelujah! 
 
(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to mail@moneylife.in)

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COMMENTS

Deepak R Khemani

2 years ago

Very clearly explained Mr Bapoo Malcom I'm sure it will help readers in case something like this happens to them. I can relate my personal case where my car was stolen and later recovered and I had to go through hell(different police stations, courts lawyers) to get it back, the procedure is so cumbersome and lengthy that one wishes once a vehicle is stolen it is never found.

Delhi exit polls were right only in voter percentage and not seats!
According to Election Commission data, AAP received 54.3% votes; BJP got 32.2% while 9.7% people voted for Congress in Delhi. This is what the exit polls were predicting, right?
 
For the next five years, let's imagine that you were a politically inclined Delhiite who fancied the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and your best friends were inclined towards the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). You talked and breathed and drank politics all day long, but at mealtimes, you sat down together, and shared the food based on an equitable relationship, which included the cost.
 
Now let us assume because of a difference in size, age, eating capacity, food served at office, and all the rest, the AAP person paid for 54% of the food, the BJP person paid for 32% and the Congress person for 10%. The balance 4%, you decided, was to be subsidised by other means, let us say what you grew at home? That made for a complete 100%. Fair enough, and everybody happy, for whatever reason.
 
However, one day, a very tasty and huge pizza landed up on the doorstep, with an irresistible offer attached - your friends and you would get a pizza delivered at home for the next five years! The pizza was really tasty, it promised to become even tastier as days went bye, and it was huge.
 
That is when the trouble started. All three of you now wanted a bigger share of the pizza. 
 
So, after a few weeks of fighting over it and calling each other names, nobody got the pizza as you kept fighting over it and then it got broken, fell down, and other people ran away with the scraps. Or the dog ate it. Whatever.
 
Hungry and unable to sort this out, and without pizza, also since you were all politically inclined, you went to the Election Commission of India (EC) and asked them to decide for you. The Commission in its wisdom, decided to poll the neighbourhood, people, cats, dogs, sparrows, everybody. They used electronic means but they also generated millions of small pieces of paper, which they strung together with twine and needle, then they put on their venerable hats and pulled out the original distribution as decided by all three of you, and presented you with a result that said, ipso facto.
 
That AAP had polled about 5/9ths of the votes, but would get 96% or almost all the pizza.
That BJP had polled about 1/3rd of the votes, but would get 4% of the pizza.
That Congress had polled about 1/10th of the votes, but would get nothing from the pizza.
 
You read it here first - reassessment of votes polled shows the results in a new light if you look at them from the way other countries handle their elections, percentile votes polled share, and not by the winner take all method. Now does it look like a sweep or wave or maybe an illusion? Or maybe closer to the opinion and exit polls?
 
 
That, in brief, is how the Delhi elections really happened.
 
 
Or, put it another way, all the people who travel in the Delhi Metro on one weekday, about 2.8 million people, they get only three representatives. And just 4% of the food.
 
However, for the people who travel by Delhi Metro on a weekday plus those who travel on Sunday, that is about 4.8 million people, they get 67 representatives. And 96% of the food.
 
And those who travel by bus, between 0.7 and 1.5 million people per day, no representatives. No pizza either.
 
Yes yes, I know, we shall do this for the National Elections of 2014 also, but nothing ever prepared anybody for such a skewed result as the one achieved in the recent Delhi elections. 
 
Luckily, too much pizza is bad for health, too.
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

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COMMENTS

Suketu Shah

2 years ago

It was a well hatched plot by congress.

Congress pulled a fast one on Amit Shah and by the time he realised it was too late.It wl not happen again.You cannot fool Amit Shah 2 times.Wait and watch-Bihar,Bengal and UP.

pravsemilo

2 years ago

Why blame AAP for this? I did a similar analysis for national elections in 2014. The results page has been removed from ECI website but here is a Wikipedia link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_Indian_general_election,_2014

In fact this is not just true for these two cases, but for every election ever since coalition governments are formed. Consider that a given % of voters vote for Party B just because they don't want Party A to come to power. But after results they see both of them joining hands. The leading party in a coalition might not have the majority share, but it does get a lion's share when it gets to running the government even though majority of population doesn't want it to be in power.

Yes things are different in other countries. In India we have too many political parties and with different flavors. In India anyone can form a political party, coalition governments are the norm, The fact is that the powers that be decided to have lenient rules for voting, party formation, government formation for some good reason. But they are being misused and there isn't any intent to correct the direction.

REPLY

pravsemilo

In Reply to pravsemilo 2 years ago

Let me give one more example where our election rules don't justify. I might want a certain party to come in power at center - mainly due to the image of Prime Ministerial candidate, but the representative from my constituency isn't well suited to represent me in LokSabha (criminal background, local corruption cases etc). What do I do? NOTA?

Nifty, Sensex may move up subject to dips – Wednesday closing report
Nifty likely to move up, if it sustains above 8,505
 
We had mentioned in our Tuesday’s closing report that the Nifty will continue to move higher. Sensex opened at 28,450 while Nifty opened at 8,603. Sensex moved from the low of 28,424 to the high of 28,619 and closed at 28,534 (up 178 points or 0.63%) while Nifty moved from 8,594 to 8,652 and closed at 8,627 (up 62 points or 0.72%). NSE recorded a volume of 90.17 crore shares. India VIX fell 3.26% to close at 20.5025.
 
The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas after trading hours yesterday said that the Central Government has amended the Kerosene (Restriction on Use and Fixation of Ceiling Price) Order, 1993 with a view to ease the availability of white kerosene (market priced kerosene) for sale in the open market. All the activities of storage, transportation and sale of non-PDS kerosene have been freed of regulatory control.
 
Global credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service Wednesday said the lower oil prices are expected to alleviate India's high inflation and spur economic growth.
 
Fortis Healthcare (20%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. Ahead of its December 2014 quarter result on 13 February 2015 the stock today hit is 52-week high.
 
SRF (5.50%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE. On Tuesday it posted a marginal growth in its December 2014 quarter result. Its board of directors declared interim dividend of Rs5 per share. Its board has approved the following capital expenditure proposals of Rs25 crore (approx.) for enhancing the R&D capability of the chemical business at Bhiwadi, Rajasthan and Rs66 crore (approx.) for modernization of technical textile plant at Gwalior.
 
Axis Bank (2.87%) was the top gainer in Sensex 30 pack while ONGC (2.63%) was the top loser in the pack.
 
On Tuesday, US indices closed in the green. Except for Hang Seng (-0.87%), KLSE Composite (-0.67%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.33%) all the other Asian indices closed in the green. Taiwan Weighted (0.73%) was the top gainer. European indices were trading in the red. US Futures too were trading marginally lower.

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