2Murali Purushothaman#10KE500Judgment/OrderMANUMurali Purushothaman,Insurance#InsuranceKERALAAccident#Assurance#Claim#Compensation#Good#Insurance#Insurance Company#Insured#Insurer#Interest#Policy#Surveyor2022-6-2475307,20442 -->

MANU/KE/1869/2022

True Court CopyTM

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

WP (C) No. 20702 of 2012

Decided On: 20.06.2022

Appellants: C.A. Hydrose
Vs.
Respondent: New India Assurance Co. Ltd. and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Murali Purushothaman

JUDGMENT

Murali Purushothaman, J.

1. Being aggrieved by Ext. P7 award passed by the Insurance Ombudsman, Kochi declining to grant interest on the award amount from the date of filing the petition, the petitioner has preferred this writ petition. According to the petitioner, he was the proprietor M/s. C.A.K. Traders, North Kalamassery which was carrying on business in PVC pipes, paints and electrical goods. The stock in trade in the shop was hypothecated to South Indian Bank, Kalamassery Branch and was insured with New India Assurance Co. Ltd., the first respondent, through the second respondent Branch Office vide Ext. P1 policy for an amount of Rs. 9 lakhs. On the night of 19.5.1997, a fire broke out in the shop room of the petitioner and the entire goods in the shop were destroyed. A final report was submitted by the police on 10.8.1997 reporting that the fire was due to electrical short circuit. The Fire Force assessed the damage to the stock as Rs. 9.25 lakhs. On 25.5.1997, the petitioner preferred a claim for Rs. 11 lakhs with the insurer. The surveyor appointed by the insurer estimated the loss at Rs. 9,36,781.90. When there was delay on the part of the insurer to settle the claim, the petitioner caused to issue a lawyer's notice to which the insurer replied that the claim is not settled as there is an order of stay from this Court in O.P. No. 17708 of 1997 filed by one M.M. Aboobacker. The said original petition was disposed of by judgment dated 15.6.1998 directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct an enquiry into the incident of fire that occurred in the shop of the petitioner on 19.5.1997. To avoid any possible loss to the petitioner herein, this Court also ordered that the amount payable to him shall be transferred to a fixed deposit so as to earn interest thereof. It was also ordered that the amount shall be disbursed to the petitioner herein only on the basis of the outcome of the CBI enquiry. The CBI submitted final report on 29.1.2000 wherein it was stated that the accident occurred due to electrical short circuit and the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam accepted the final report and closed the case. The insurer sent a voucher for Rs. 56,768/- to the South Indian Bank to which the goods were hypothecated and refused to make any payment to the petitioner towards his claim of Rs. 11 lakhs. Accordingly, the petitioner preferred a complaint before the Insurance Ombudsman on 4.7.2003. The Insurance Ombudsman passed an award on 3.8.2004 dismissing the complaint. This Court, by Ext. P6 judgment, set aside the award since the award was passed without hearing the petitioner and remitted the matter to the Ombudsman for fresh consideration, in accordance with law.

2. Pursuant to Ext. P6 judgment, the Ombudsman passed Ext. P7 award dated 10.2.2012 directing the respondent-insurance company to pay an amount of Rs. 9 lakhs after deducting the amount of Rs. 56,768/- settled with the bank with 9% interest per annum from 28.9.2011, the date of Ext. P6 judgment of this Court till 10.2.2012, the date of Ext. P7 award with cost of Rs. 5,000/- and in default, the amount of Rs. 8,43,232 (900000-56768) shall carry further interest @ 9% per annum from the date of Ext. P7 award till payment is made. The Ombudsman further directed that, in order to implement the award, the petitioner shall furnish to the insurer a letter of acceptance of t........