While modifying an order passed by the Odisha state consumer disputes redressal commission, the national consumer disputes redressal commission (NCDRC) imposed an additional cost of Rs10,000 on United India Insurance Co Ltd.
In an order, the bench of Dr Inder Jit Singh (presiding member) says, "We find no illegality or infirmity in the orders dated 30 September 2015 of the (Odisha) state commission. The appeal lacks merits and is dismissed with cost of Rs10,000 to be paid by appellants to the respondent, in addition to the cost of Rs3,000 awarded by the state commission."
Accepting the complainant's prayer, the bench directed United India Insurance to pay Rs2.5 lakh with interest at 7% from 18 October 1997 till the date of actual payment. "The amount deposited with state commission along with accrued interest as well as balance payable by the insurance company with interest up to the date of actual payment shall be paid to the respondent within two months of this order. Any delay by United India Insurance in paying the due amount beyond two months shall carry interest at 12% pa (per annum)," NCDRC says in its order.
Ganjam-based E Jagabandhu was awarded Rs2.5 lakh with interest at 7% from 18 October 1997 to 25 November 1999 and Rs3,000 as litigation expenses. United India Insurance challenged the order.
On 19 April 2016, NCDRC issued a notice to Mr Jagabandhu while staying the order of the state commission subject to the insurance company depositing 50% of the award money.
On 21 November 2016, Mr Jagabandhu sent a letter-cum-application stating that he is suffering from physical illness and financial calamity and cannot engage a lawyer to contest the case and also cannot appear personally before NCDRC. He also stated that he had a total and permanent loss to his right eye within six months from 1 October 1997, so he is entitled to get the claim of 50% of the sum assured of Rs5 lakh along with interest from the date of claim till date of payment. He further stated that he claimed the interest from 18 October 1998 till 25 November 1999 by mistake and would now like to claim interest from 18 October 1997 till the date of making payment of the claim to him.
United India Insurance submitted that the policy issued to Mr Jagabandhu only covers the accidental death, permanent total disablement, and actual loss of one eye or eyes, hand or hands, foot or feet but does not cover the 30% loss of vision of a particular eye. "The policy does not cover the temporary disablement or permanent, temporary disablement. The policy specifically only covers the 100% total disablement or actual loss by physical separation of one entire hand/foot or both or total and irrecoverable loss of sight of one eye."
After hearing the counsels and perusing documents and the order passed by the state commission, Dr Singh from NCDRC says he did not find any illegality in the order passed by the fora below. Accepting the prayer of Mr Jagabandhu, he modified the state commission order to change the period for which interest is payable to 18 October 1997 till a payment from 18 October 1997 to 25 November 1999.
(First Appeal No142 of 2016 Date: 16 May 2023)