26 May 2020


Judgments

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ors. Vs. Davubhai Babubhai Ravaliya

MANU/CF/0600/2018

04.09.2018

Consumer

Consumption of liquor beyond a safe limit disqualifies the insured from getting benefits of insurance policy

The complainant/Respondent owned a vehicle which he had got insured with the Petitioner Company. The vehicle having met with an accident, on 4th December, 2010, the intimation of the accident was sent to the Petitioner Company on 4th February, 2011. The complainant thereafter, lodged a claim for re-imbursement in respect of the loss suffered by him on account of damage to the vehicle. The claim however, was repudiated vide letter.

Being aggrieved from the repudiation of the claim, the complainant/respondent approached the concerned District Forum. The District Forum dismissed the complaint, the complainant/respondent approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. The State Commission allowed the appeal and directed the Petitioner to pay a sum of Rs. 2,75,285 to the complainant, alongwith compensation and the cost of litigation, the Petitioner is before present Commission by way of this revision petition.

Condition no. 1(c) of the insurance policy provides that, any accidental loss or damage suffered whilst the insured or any person driving the private car with the knowledge and consent of the insured is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. If a person driving a private car with the knowledge and consent of the insured, is under influence of liquor or drugs at the time an accidental loss or damage is suffered by the vehicle, the insurance company is not liable to reimburse the said loss.

The purpose of the insurer behind excluding the cases of accident when the insured is under influence of intoxicating liquor is to ensure that the consumption of the liquor does not lead or contribute to happening of the accident in which the insured dies or injured. Therefore, consumption of liquor beyond a safe limit must necessarily disqualify the insured from getting the benefits of the insurance policy taken by him. The quantity of alcohol allowed to the driver of a motor vehicle is not more than 100 mg/100 ml of the blood in any country, including USA though, in our country it is only 30 mg/100 ml of blood. Therefore, if a person is found to have consumed more than 103.14 mg of alcohol/100 ml of his blood, which is position in present case, it would be reasonable to say that, he was under the influence of the intoxicating liquor at the time he died or got injured.

The State Commission has taken a view that, the complainant was not aware of the driver having taken alcohol. That however, was not the requirement of the insurance policy, for repudiation of the claim. Insurer was required to prove that, the vehicle was being driven by a person who was under the influence of liquor and he was driving the said vehicle with the knowledge and consent of the insured. In the present case, the driver was related to the insured and this is not the case of the complainant that, the vehicle was being driven by Mr. Dadubhai Maldebhai Ravaliya without his consent and knowledge. Therefore, in view of the above extracted condition of the insurance policy, the insurer is not liable to reimburse the complainant for the loss suffered by him on account of damage to the vehicle. The impugned order therefore, cannot be sustained and the said order is set aside.

Tags : Compensation Grant Legality

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