National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): NCDRC has upheld the repudiation of claim by the insurance company in a case of theft of cash on the ground that complainant (appellant) failed to take reasonable care for protection of cash by leaving the doors of the car unlocked. Earlier, complainant who is the proprietor of a firm M.R. Jewellers, engaged in export of jewellery, had taken cash in transit policy to cover any single cash in transit upto Rs. 10 lacs from National Insurance Co. It was alleged by the complainant that one day when the complainant was carrying a cash bag of Rs. 9,85,000/-, on the rear seat of the car, two young boys on a motorcycle indicated the complainant that the rear left side tyre of his car was punctured. Therefore, complainant stopped the car on the side of the road and got down and took out stepany from the dickey of the car and changed the rear left side tyre within 10 to 12 minutes. When complainant entered the car after change of wheel, he found cash bag missing from the car. The insurance claim of the complainant in the matter was repudiated by the company. Before State Commission, insurance company stated that it had repudiated the claim on the ground of breach of policy’s terms and conditions as complainant’s conduct was not inconformity as provided in condition no. 3 & 6 of the insurance policy at the time of alleged incident and complainant had failed to take reasonable steps and care to ensure safety of the cash being carried in transit, and had not locked the main lock of driver side door and the locks of the other doors as well, while changing the tyre. State Commission dismissed the complaint against which complainant filed appeal before NCDRC.  National Commission, after perusal of documents and hearing both the parties, observed that, “Condition no. 3 of the policy provides that insured was required to take all reasonable steps to safeguard the property insured against accident, loss or damage. Perusal of surveyor’s report indicates that complainant left driver side unlocked on account of which all other three doors of the car also remained unlocked and it appears that culprits after taking advantage of door being unlocked, had taken away the bag with cash. When complainant himself was negligent in taking reasonable care to safeguard his bag by keeping door of car unlocked, opposite party has not committed any deficiency in repudiating claim and learned State Commission has not committed any error in dismissing the complaint.” While holding that the complainant had violated the conditions of the policy, NCDRC dismissed the appeal and upheld the order of State Commission as well as the repudiation of the claim by the insurance company. [Mahender Goel v. National Insurance Co. Ltd., 2015 SCC OnLine NCDRC 2612, decided on October 15, 2015]

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