Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J. contemplated the mercy petition filed by a petitioner who sought re-employment in a Coal Company.

Counsel for the petitioner Ranjan Kumar Singh, submitted that petitioner was dismissed from services on the ground of absent for 58 days and that after dismissal, the petitioner, who is an illiterate person, approached the authorities for re-employment in terms of the scheme but his representation was not considered in the true spirit of the Scheme.

On the contrary, the counsel for the respondent Company submitted that the petitioner had filed the representation after nine years of his dismissal, thus, the writ was liable to be quashed due to delay.

The Court observed that the petitioner was an illiterate person, as it was evident from the representation he had filed with the respondents-authorities on which he gave his thumb impression, and he wasn’t able to understand the legal impediment of approaching at a belated stage. Hence, his claim was not denied solely on the ground of delay and needs consideration.[Dulal Bouri v. BCCL, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 804, decided on 08-07-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal: A Coram of Justice SVS Rathore (Judicial Member) and Air Marshal BBP Sinha (Administrative Member) allowed an ex-hawaldar’s application for disability pension holding that stress and strain of military service can also happen in peace areas.

Applicant herein was enrolled in the Indian Army in 1971 and after serving the Army for 22 years, he was discharged from service in 1973. Thereafter, the applicant was inducted in the Defence Security Corps (DSC) as Sepoy in medically fit condition and after serving for 15 years in the DSC, he was discharged therefrom in 2010. Before applicant’s discharge, the Release Medical Board (RMB) considered his disability as ‘primary hypertension’ and opined the disease as “neither attributable nor aggravated” (NANA) by military service and assessed it as 30% for life. The Medical Board further assessed the disability qualifying for a disability pension as NIL for life. Aggrieved with non-payment of disability pension, the applicant preferred representation which was rejected by the appropriate authority. Hence, the present petition.

The Tribunal noted that the only reason given by the RMB for declaring the disease as NANA was that it had not started in peace area and not in a field, high altitude area or counter-insurgency operation area. This reason was outrightly dismissed by the Tribunal opining that it amounted to saying that there is no stress and strain of military service in peace areas. Therefore, in terms of the judgment of Dharamvir Singh v. Union of India, (2013) 7 SCC 316 it was held that the applicant’s disability of ‘primary hypertension’ be considered as aggravated by military service.

The impugned order was set aside and the applicant was held to be entitled to benefit of rounding-off of disability pension. Relying on Shiv Dass v. Union of India, (2007) 9 SCC 274 he was directed to be granted disability pension at 30 percent for life which would be rounded off to 50 percent from three years prior to the filing of this application.[Ex Havildar Anand Singh v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 1408, decided on 26-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: M.S. Sonak, J. while disposing of a petition filed by eatery owners whose licences have been cancelled, directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to accept petitioners’ application for renewal of license and thereafter dispose of such application on its own merits and in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible.

The challenge in the present petition was to the order dated 20-4-2019 by which the Additional Chief Judge (Appeal Court) had dismissed petitioners’ application seeking interim relief pending disposal of the Municipal Appeal in which the petitioners have challenged certain orders cancelling the license to operate the eating places. 

The High Court was of the view that no case for interference was established. The grant of an interim injunction would virtually amount to allowing the appeal filed by the petitioners. It is pertinent to note that the petitioners had prayed for an interim mandatory injunction to direct the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to renew their license which has already expired. Such orders, according to the Court, cannot normally be made at the interim stage and that too in the absence of a very strong prima facie case. It was held by the Court: “Since the license has already expired, there is no question of the petitioners claiming for any interim relief and on the basis of same continuing or commencing the business from the suit premises”.

Jamshed Master, Advocate for the petitioners submitted, however, that the Municipal Corporation was not even accepting petitioner’s application for renewal of license, much less considering them in accordance with the law. The High Court held the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai cannot simply refuse to accept the application and thereby avoid making a decision as to whether the petitioners were entitled to renewal or not. 

Accordingly, without disturbing the impugned order, the Court directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to accept petitioners’ application for renewal of license and thereafter dispose of such application on its own merits and in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible and in any case within a period of two months from the date of such application. [Vijay D. Shetty v. Municipal Corpn. of Greater Mumbai, WP (ST) No. 13549 of 2019, dated 03-05-2019]

 

Case BriefsForeign Courts

High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Local Division: This application was filed before G.J. Gajjar, AJ., under Rule 28(4) of the Uniform Rules of Courts by which the applicant seeks to amend its particulars of claim pursuant to a notice of objection filed by the respondent.

Respondent had objected to the amendment in particulars on the ground that it was not possible to determine what work was undertaken to remedy the alleged defective work or what portion of invoices was reduced by a certain aggregate sum. The applicant and respondent had entered into an oral agreement under which respondent had provided a programmer who was not appropriate for managing the PLC program due to which applicant had to recheck and get it corrected by a third party and company E for necessary and related costs. Applicant in its proposed amended particulars of claim has attached seven invoices made out to company E. The amended particulars was thus reducing this amount by 50% as a discount by the third party. Thus, this reduced amount as an amendment to the particulars was criticized by respondents. Respondent submitted that the plaintiff, at the very least, is required to specifically stipulate what portion of the attached invoices was not for its account and that Rule 18(4) should be read conjunctively with the provisions of Rule 18(10) in regard to the particulars required when claiming damages.

High Court was of the view that proposed amended particulars of claim do not disable the defendant from assessing the quantum of the claim. Therefore, the objection made by the respondent was dismissed and the particulars of claim was amended. [Shones Automation (PTY) Ltd. v. Smokey Mountain Trading 444 (PTY) Ltd., Case No. 1554 of 2018, decided on 19-02-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Justice V.K. Jain (Presiding Member) dismissed an appeal filed by a jeweller, assailing repudiation of his claim for insurance.

The complainant/appellant obtained a Jewellers Block Policy from the respondent company for Rs 48 lakhs. During the period of the policy, some burglars entered their jewellery shop and took away ornaments kept in a safe. Respondent was intimated and a surveyor was appointed to visit the site and assess the loss. Surveyor submitted a report recommending repudiation of the claim on the ground that there was no sign of breaking the safe or its locks. Aggrieved appellant approached the State Commission by way of a consumer complaint. State Commission dismissed the complaint on the ground that the insured had failed to take all reasonable steps for safety of the property.

NCDRC noted an exception clause in the policy which stated that if it is established that the safe had been opened by the intruders, using either the original or a duplicate key of the safe belonging to the complainant, the loss would not be covered unless it is shown that the key, or duplicate key, as the case may be, had been obtained by threat or by violence. In the present case, the alleged use of key belonging to the insured was based upon the fact that one key of the safe was found in a glass showcase underneath a weighing scale. It was opined that in the normal course of human conduct, burglars would either take away the key or just throw it somewhere in the shop, instead of making efforts of keeping it under a weighing scale inside the glass showcase.

The Commission further noted that it was a condition of the policy that the premises where the jewellery was kept were to be protected by employing a watchman. But the said condition had not been met by the appellant.  Lastly, the appellant was not maintaining proper books of accounts and had failed to prove the actual loss suffered by him.

For the aforesaid reasons, it was held that the order of State Commission, dismissing the complaint filed by the appellant, did not call for any interference by this Commission.[S.B. Jewellers v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., First Appeal No. 154 of 2013, Order dated 04-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Bench of Manoj K. Tiwari, J. while allowing the petition quashed the order of the Chief Education Officer.

In the present matter, the petitioner was a Class-IV employee, serving in a Government aided minority institution. He was appointed in the year 2002 on the post of Night Chowkidar and having been completed 17 years of continuous satisfactory service, and being the seniormost Class-IV employee, he was eligible for promotion to Class-III post of Clerk. Therefore, the petitioner through learned counsel Mr Alok Mehra, approached the Court being aggrieved by the communication of the Chief Education Officer, Almora where the petitioner was declared ineligible for promotion only on the ground that he was appointed on the post of Night Chowkidar.

The Court while quashing the said order of the respondents held that, “Promotion is governed by Statutory Rules and every candidate, who is eligible in terms of the Rules, has a Fundamental Right to be considered for promotion against available vacancies. Therefore, imposition of new condition regarding eligibility by the Chief Education Officer, which has the effect of taking away right to be considered for promotion to the petitioner, cannot be sustained”.

Respondents were further directed to consider petitioner’s claim for promotion along with other eligible persons.[Lal Singh Bisht v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 229, Order dated 07-03-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Bench of S.V.S. Rathore, J. and Lt. General N.B. Singh (Member) dismissed an application challenging the denial of family pension, holding that the same was without any substance.

Applicant herein claimed to be the eldest son of a deceased soldier Mohd. Rafique and applied for a family pension as he was totally blind. His claim for pension was denied by respondent on the ground that his name did not figure in the service book of Mohd. Rafique. Aggrieved thereby, the instant application was filed under Section 14 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

Learned counsel for the applicant placed reliance on relation certificate issued by the SDM, Sultanpur, wherein apart from five other sons and daughters of Mohd. Rafique, the name of the applicant was also mentioned. Learned counsel for the respondents raised an objection to this certificate stating that the certificate clearly mentioned that it had been issued only for administrative purposes and that it could not be used in any court of law.

The Tribunal held that a plain reading of Regulations 216 and 219 of the Pension Regulations for the Army, 1961 (Part-1) made it clear that name in the service record as son of the applicant was a condition precedent to grant the relief claimed. Admittedly, the name of the applicant was not mentioned as nominee in the service record of the deceased soldier. This gave rise to an inference that the father of the applicant deliberately avoided mentioning the name of the applicant in the service record to debar him from such pension. Thus, the application was dismissed holding that there was no infirmity in the impugned order.[Akhtar v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 3, Order dated 13-02-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Bench of S.V.S. Rathore, J. and Air Marshal BBP Sinha; Members, dismissed an application claiming disability pension, on the grounds that the disease was neither attributable to nor aggravated by the military service.

In the present case, the original applicant (deceased) developed pain and swelling in his right thigh following an injury while doing the parade. The Categorisation Medical Board was held on 14-08-1964 at Military Hospital, Lucknow for the disability “Leomyo Sarcoma Right Thigh” and the applicant was placed in category CEE (temporary) for 6 months. On account of the said disability, grant of disability pension was sought for. The respondents filed a counter affidavit stating that the documents relating to the case were destroyed after the expiry of the period of retention i.e. 25 years and in the absence of a medical report, it is not possible to give any specific finding.

The Court opined that it was not in the position to accept that the disease of the applicant was either attributable to or aggravated by military service, primarily since, there was a substantial delay of 44 years and also because the reason as to why the disease could not be detected at the time of enrolment cannot be scrutinised to decide attributability.[Faquir Baksh Singh v. Union of India, Original Application No. 543 of 2017, Order dated 18-02-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Bench of S.V.S. Rathore, J. and Air Marshal BBP Sinha (Member) dismissed a Lance Naik’s claim for pension on the ground that he had been declared as a deserter and dismissed from service.

Petitioner herein joined the Indian Army on 31-10-1985 and was sanctioned casual leaves for five days from 08-05-2001 to 12-05-2001. During the course of casual leave, he became mentally disturbed and could not reach his home. In the year 2003, after recovering, he reported to his unit on 25-03-2003. Petitioner pleaded that he was entitled to service pension as he had completed 15 years of service; but since no pension was sanctioned in his favour, he filed a writ petition in the High Court of Allahabad. The said Court transferred his petition to this Tribunal under Section 34 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

Respondents’ contention was that petitioner did not report back after availing casual leave therefore, he was declared a deserter and apprehension roll was issued against him on 28-05-2001. He was advised to report to his unit, but the petitioner never approached his unit and continued to remain a deserter. Thus, he was dismissed from service with effect from the date of his desertion and, since his entire service was confiscated, he was not entitled to any pension.

The Tribunal noted that the petitioner had been declared as a deserter and dismissed from service under Section 20 (3) of the Army Act. He claimed for a pension without challenging his dismissal order and hence the said dismissal order had become final. It was concluded that since the petitioner had been dismissed from service, therefore, in view of provisions contained under Regulation 113 (a) of Pension Regulations for Army, 2008, his entire service stood confiscated and he had no pensionable service to his credit.

In view of the above, the instant application was dismissed.[Lal Chand Ram v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 2, Order dated 07-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: Yaqoob Mir, CJ dismissed a petition for compassionate appointment holding it to be without merits.

Petitioner’s father was in Meghalaya Police who died in harness in the year 1999 while debuted for operational duty at Shillong, West Khasi Hills District. In 2017, after a lapse of 18 years, petitioner applied for the compassionate appointment. His application was considered and rejected stating that in terms of the relevant Department Order, the application for appointment on compassionate grounds had to be filed within 1 year from the date of death of the Government servant or from the date of acquiring a necessary educational qualification. Therefore, petitioner’s claim was rejected as time-barred.

R. Sharon, Advocate for the petitioner admitted that he acquired the necessary qualification in 2011 but applied only in the year 2017.

The High Court found favour with submissions of Advocate General A. Kumar. It observed, “Compassionate appointment admittedly is a departure from normal rules of appointment but same has laudable object of saving the deceased’s family from crisis and financial complications. Here in the instant case, the family has survived for 18 years.” Petitioner failed to show any rule which would provide for considering his application and resultantly, the petition was dismissed. [Ravi Koch v. State of Meghalaya, 2019 SCC OnLine Megh 4, dated 04-02-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT): The Bench of Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Chairperson and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, Member (Judicial) allowed an appeal filed against the order of National Company Law Tribunal (New Delhi) whereby it had admitted respondent’s application under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and appointed an Interim Resolution Professional.

Senior Advocate K. Venugopal assisted by Pawan Sharma, Anuj Shah and Rishabh Sharma, Advocates representing the appellant–Shareholder of the Corporate Debtor, submitted that NCLT failed to notice inter alia that the parties had already settled the claim. The factum of the settlement was accepted by Ashish Agarwal, Advocate appearing for the respondent.

It was informed by the Interim Resolution Professional that advertisement was issued asking for claims but Committee of Creditors was not yet constituted.

The Appellate Tribunal relied on Swiss Ribbons (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 73 wherein the Supreme Court held, “at any stage where the committee of creditors is not yet constituted, a party can approach the NCLT directly, which Tribunal may, in exercise of its inherent powers under Rule 11 of the NCLT Rules, 2016, allow or disallow an application for withdrawal or settlement.”

In such view of the matter, the impugned order of NCLT was set aside as the parties had settled the claim before the constitution of Committee of Creditors and the respondent did not want to proceed with the matter. The appeal was thus allowed. [Arjun Puri v. Kunal Prasad, 2019 SCC OnLine NCLAT 5, dated 31-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The petition was filed before a Division Bench of Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sidhu, JJ. against the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Chandigarh where original application filed by petitioner assailing the communication of respondents declining petitioner’s request for consideration for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer was dismissed.

A post of Chief Engineer in the Engineering Department, Chandigarh Administration was due to become vacant. Petitioner submitted a representation that he be considered for the aforementioned post. He submitted that he was eligible for the post under PSEB Regulations, 1965 which was rejected, thus an original application was filed which was dismissed was thus. This order was impugned in this petition. Respondent contended that the Electricity Operations Circle (Electricity Wing) under which the petitioner was serving is not a part of the B&R Branch. Thus, he could not claim promotion to a post of Engineering Department, Chandigarh. The question before Court was to see if the petitioner, working as Superintending Engineer (Electricity) was eligible for promotion to the post of Chief Engineer in the Engineering Department of UT of Chandigarh.

High Court observed that petitioner’s services were governed by PSEB Regulations, 1965 and his prior promotions were done under this regulation itself along with this he had also received certain benefits under the regulation and the post he was claiming in the impugned order had already been proposed to be created. Court was of the view that a person governed by one set of rules and regulations cannot claim the benefit of promotion under another rule and petitioner was estopped from raising such a claim. Therefore, on finding no merit in the petition the same was dismissed. [M.P. Singh Wasal v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 71, decided on 29-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab & Haryana HC: The Bench of Raj Mohan Singh, J. dismissed a revision petition on the ground of insufficient evidence but granted liberty to file a fresh revision petition with better particulars.

The present matter pertained to the validity of an agreement of sale executed by petitioner and one Sukhchain Singh, being contested before the lower court. The petitioner’s submission before lower court was that one Girdhari Lal had obtained her signatures on some blank papers and the said agreement of sale was the outcome of such fraud. She filed an application for leading examination of handwriting and fingerprint expert as additional evidence in order to prove the said forgery. However, the trial court dismissed the application on the premise that the petitioner had admitted her signature on the agreement. Comparison of the signature was not sought to be made with any other document. The handwriting and fingerprint expert cannot opine whether the signatures appended on blank papers were prior in point of time or subsequent thereof. Aggrieved by the said order, the instant revision petition was filed.

The Court observed that the petitioner could not furnish any explanation as to how Sukhchain Singh’s signatures came to be appended on an agreement to sell. The story advanced by her was in the context of her signing the blank papers and not by Sukhchain Singh in the presence of any witness. In view thereof, it was held that the impugned order did not suffer from any error of jurisdiction or perversity of any type.[Jaspal Kaur v. Girdhari Lal, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 56, decided on 15-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: This writ was filed before a Single Judge Bench of Sheel Nagu, J., in nature of mandamus. 

The grievance of petitioner was that their names were removed from the revenue record of certain agricultural lands which they claimed to be belonging to them by virtue of the operation of law. Petitioner contended that by virtue of The Kanoon Maal Gwalior, Samvat 1983, The United State of Gwalior, Indore & Malwa (Madhya Bharat) Revenue Administration & Ryotwari Land Revenue & Tenancy Act, Samvat 2007 and Madhya Bharat Zamindari Abolition Act, Samvat, 2008, the land belonged to them and they were Bhumiswami of the same. 

High Court viewed that claims of the petitioner had already been raised before the competent court under MPLRC and the revenue Court of SDO which is seized of the matter. Thus, the Court was of the view that it should not exercise its extraordinary writ jurisdiction as the same was filed without any grounds. Therefore, this petition was dismissed. [Bachchu  Singh v. State of M.P.,2018 SCC OnLine MP 919, decided on 13-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Arun Bhansali, J. dismissed a plea against the grant of inadequate time to appear for the PET examination.

This writ petition was sought by the petitioner to direct the respondents to conduct fresh Physical Efficiency Test (PET) as he was not granted sufficient time to prepare for the same result of which he failed.

Referring to the facts, after passing the written examination for the post of Constable, the petitioner downloaded his admission card one day before the PET wherein he was to run for 5 km in 25 min and being well aware of such requirements he opted to fill the form, therefore the claim for lack of time was baseless as he had sufficient time and opportunity to participate in the said test.

Accordingly being devoid of merits, the writ petition was dismissed. [Tejpal Singh v. State of Rajasthan,2018 SCC OnLine Raj 2178, decided on 29-11-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ. allowed an appeal for enhancing the compensation awarded under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 by the Kerala High Court.

The claimants were the dependants (wife, 2 children, and aged father) of the deceased who died in an accident in 2008. The moved a claim petition before the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal seeking a total compensation of Rs 25,00,000. The Tribunal granted a compensation of Rs 11,83,000 which was enhanced by the High Court by an additional award of Rs 9,70,000. The claimants preferred the instant appeal for further enhancing the compensation.

The Supreme Court considered the salary certificate of the deceased, cost of living, and other relevant factors. It was held that the High Court was not right in deducting 2/3rd of the deceased’s total income towards his personal expenses and was of the view that a deduction of 40% would be appropriate for quantifying compensation. In the opinion of the Court, the claimants were entitled to a total compensation of Rs 28,00,000 which interestingly was higher than the amount claimed by the dependants of the deceased. Referring to Nagappa v. Gurudayal Singh, (2003) 2 SCC 274; Magma General Insurance v. Nanu Ram, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1546 and Ibrahim v. Raju, (2011) 10 SCC 634, the Court observed, “There is no restriction that the Court cannot award compensation exceeding the claimed amount, since the function of the Tribunal or Court under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles  Act, 1988 is to award ‘just compensation’. The Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial and welfare legislation. A ‘just compensation’ is one in which reasonable on the basis of evidence produced on record. It cannot be said to have become time-barred. Further, there is no need for a new cause of action to claim an enhanced amount. The Courts are duty to award just compensation.”

The appeal was thus allowed and disposed of in terms above. [Ramla v. National Insurance Company Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2616, decided on 30-11-2018]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka: An appeal was filed before a Single Judge Bench comprising of M.M.A. Gaffoor, J., against a judgment of district judge where the original plaintiff instituted an action seeking partition of a land.

Claim of plaintiff regarding the land was to receive undivided 1/2 share against the share of defendants whereas the two defendants were entitled to receive undivided 1/4 share according to his amended petition. The other defendants averted that they were exclusively entitled to the plantations and improvements in the land sought to be partitioned in this action. District court favoured the other defendants. Subsequently, the original plaintiff died and his son was substituted in his place as plaintiff-appellant who filed this appeal for setting aside of the above order of District Court.

Supreme Court observed after perusal of the plaint that the substituted plaintiff had amended the original plaint claiming that he was entitled to an undivided 1/2 share against two others entitled to an undivided 1/4 share while in the original plaint it was to be divided between four defendants. It was observed that substituted plaintiff was not completely aware of the facts of the case due to his admission of the fact that his father, the original plaintiff, was well aware of the facts of the case compared to himself and due to the same he had to amend the plaint. Appellant failed to show the existence of facts which could show his legal right or liability, thereby he failed to prove his case. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed. [Ahamed Abdulla Marikkar Mesthiriyar  Mohamed Ismail v. Sammon Hadjiar,2018 SCC OnLine SL CA 85, decided on 01-10-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): The bench comprising of S.M. Kantikar and Dinesh Singh, Members, while dealing with an appeal filed against the order of State Commission, held that murder of an insured person must be treated as an accidental death if the same is not the result of any deliberate act of the insured himself.

In the instant case, respondent’s father (insured) had taken a personal accident shield insurance policy from the appellant-insurer for an assured sum of Rs 20 lakh which was renewed from time to time. On a particular day, when he did not return home from his office, his family lodged a missing person complaint subsequent to which it came to light that respondent’s father had been murdered by a few persons in relation to some property dispute. Respondent filed a death claim with the appellant but it was repudiated on the ground that the death was not due to an accident but was a case of murder simpliciter. Aggrieved by the repudiation, respondent was constrained to approach the State Commission which directed the appellant to pay Rs 20 lakh along with interest. The said order of State Commission was the subject matter of challenge in the present appeal.

The main question for determination was as to whether the murder that took place in the instant case would fall within the scope of the term ‘accident’.

The Commission perused the insurance policy and noted that nowhere was it mentioned that the appellant would not be liable to pay the amount of insurance in case of murder. Relying upon the judgment of Apex Court in Rita Devi v New India Assurance Company Ltd., (2000) 5 SCC 113, it was observed that if the immediate cause of injury is not a result of any deliberate or willful act of the insured and the occurrence of accident is unexpected on the part of insured then a murder must be counted as an ‘accident’. The Commission also relied on the contra proferentum rule applicable to insurance policies and stated that in case of ambiguities in the insurance policy, interpretation has to be done in favour of the insured.

On the strength of the aforesaid reasoning, it was held that the murder of respondent was an accident within the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. Consequently, the instant appeal stood dismissed and the order of State Commission was upheld. [Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co. Ltd. v Pawan Balram Mulchandani,2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 377, decided on 25-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ashwani Kumar Mishra, J., disposed of a petition filed with a claim of promotion under U.P. Sub-Inspector and Inspector (Civil Police) Service (Second Amendment) Rule, 2016.

This dispute was related to promotion which went before Supreme Court from where the same was remanded to Division Bench of the High Court. It is the order passed by Division Bench which is in question in this petition where U.P. Police Recruitment and Promotion Board was directed to consider the claim of the petitioner. The Petitioner was appointed as a constable in furtherance of which he was discharging his duties on the said post. Petitioner submitted that his conduct was satisfactory and till date, no complaint was made against him. Petitioner prayed for promotion to a position of Sub-Inspector as per amended Rules of 2013 and 2015. Whereas Additional Chief Standing Counsel submitted that the U.P. Sub-Inspector and Inspector (Civil Police) Service (Second Amendment) Rule, 2016 was amended for the matter of promotion and thus claim of petitioner does not come under the above-mentioned rules and is liable to be dismissed.

In light of the above discussion, High Court disposed of this writ petition with a direction to the respondent for considering the claim of the petitioner for promotion to the post of Sub-Inspector. [Dilip Kumar v. State of U.P.,2018 SCC OnLine All 1551, Order dated 26-09-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Singh Member Bench of V.K. Jain, Member, dismissed a revision petition filed against the order of the U.P. State Commission, whereby petitioner-company was directed to pay the claim amount to the Respondent 1.

The main issue that arose before the Commission, in this case, was whether the petitioner company was liable to pay the entire insurance claim to the respondent even though there was a delay in filing of claim.

The Commission observed that from bare perusal of the insurance policy it becomes clear that the amount of insurance claim that the respondent was entitled to receive was Rs. 2 lacs and not Rs. 50,000. Further, the Commission observed that though the claim was to be filed within 30 days or at best 45 days from the death of Respondent 1’s husband, however, the respondent was not given a chance to explain the delay caused in submitting the claim.

The Commission held that as per Circular No. IRDA/HLTH/MISC./CIR/216/09/2011, issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), a genuine claim cannot be outrightly rejected on the ground of delay. The Commission further held that the insurer is required to enquire from the claimant as to what was the reason for the delay in submission of the claim and the claim should be rejected only where the insurer finds that it was liable to be rejected even if it had been submitted in time. Since no such opportunity was granted to the respondent, the decision of the State Commission was upheld and the revision petition was dismissed. [National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Hukam Bai Meena,2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 328, Order dated 01-08-2018]