NCDRC | If goods in deliverable state are delivered by seller to purchaser, property in the goods passes from seller to purchaser

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Justice V.K. Jain (Presiding Member) while dismissing the present revision petition, held that,

“If the goods in deliverable state are delivered by the seller to the purchaser, the property in the goods passes from the seller to the purchaser unless they have contracted otherwise.”

In the present matter, it has been noted that the petitioner obtained a Marine Transit Insurance Policy from the respondent company. The stated policy covered goods to the extent of Rs 2 crore against all risk of transit. Complainant sent 1009 TV Sets from Dehradun to East India Technology Pvt. Ltd. in Tamil Nadu. Further, the goods were to be supplied to the Government of Tamil Nadu, which on inspection rejected the said TV sets. Consequently, East India Technology Pvt. Ltd. transported the goods back to the complainant and on the way, the goods got damaged when the truck in which they were being carried met with an accident.

Thus in view of the stated, a claim was lodged for reimbursement in terms of the insurance policy.

On being aggrieved by the repudiation of the claim, the complainant approached the District Forum wherein the consumer complaint was allowed, the insured approached he concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. State Commission allowed the appeal and consequently dismissed the said consumer complaint on not having any insurable interest in the goods.

Further, the complainant reached before this Commission. The question that was raised was:

“Whether  the petitioner had any insurable interest in the goods, at the time when they were damaged while being transported from Tamil Nadu to Dehradun?”

Counsel for the petitioner/ complainant submitted that despite invoice raised in favour of East India Technology Pvt. Ltd., the ownership of the goods continued to vest with the complainant since the price of the goods was to be paid by the East India Technology Pvt. Ltd., within 60 days of inspection of the goods by ELCOT which is stated to be an agency of Government of Tamil Nadu and therefore, the complainant continued to have insurable interest in the goods by the time when they were damaged on account of road accident.

Commission rejected the above contention.

Further, the Commission referred to Sections, 20, 23(2) and 26 of the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 and stated that on a reading of all of these Sections, it shows that,

“If the goods in deliverable state are delivered by the seller to the purchaser, the property in the goods passes from the seller to the purchaser unless they have contracted otherwise.”

Commission stated that it would be difficult to say that the complainant continued to be the owner of the goods in question even after having sold and delivered the goods to East India Technology (P) Ltd. The commission while reaching the conclusion added that considering that the complainant had not only sold the goods but had also delivered the same to East India Technology (P) Ltd. without reserving any right for the disposal of goods, it cannot be said to have retained insurable interest in the said goods in term of Section 7 of the Indian Maritime Insurance Act, 1963.

Goods were returned by the purchaser to the complainant at the risk of the purchaser and therefore, at the time they were damaged/destroyed, the ownership of the goods vested in the purchaser. Therefore, the complainant would be entitled to have a valid claim against the purchaser to recover the price of the goods which it had sold and delivered to the purchaser.

The complainant was left with no insurable interest in the goods, once they were sold and delivered to the purchaser since the transaction of sale stood completed on the sale and delivery of the goods.

Thus, it was East India Technology Pvt. Ltd., which owned the goods at the time they were destroyed/damaged on account of being involved in a road accident.

Hence the revision petition is dismissed in view of the above reasons. [E-Durables v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 747, decided on 24-12-2019]

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