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Mahavir Prasad Gupta and Sons v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ors. - (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) (19 Jan 2017)

If keys of vehicles left inside ignition socket, it amounts to grave negligence on part of complainant



Claim under insurance policy was filed with Insurance Company, but same was repudiated stating that, keys of the vehicle were left in ignition socket at time of incident and hence, theft was facilitated due to negligence of complainant. Present first appeal has been filed against impugned order passed by State Commission by which complaint filed by Appellant against rejection of his claim for theft of insured vehicle on ground that, ignition keys were left inside the vehicle, was dismissed.

Issue in question is no more res-integra in view of recent orders passed by this Commission in "Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Tara Singh” and in “Ajay Kamboj v. Divisional Manager, ICICI Lombard Zenith House & Anr.”. It is a well-settled legal proposition that if keys of vehicles are left inside the ignition socket, it amounts to grave negligence on part of complainant. In present case as well, complainant has nowhere stated in consumer complaint that, keys were taken away by driver, when he went to attend the call of nature, after parking the vehicle on roadside. A perusal of copy of FIR recorded by Police reveals that, driver simply stated that he came out from his truck after parking same on roadside and started urinating. He saw some people coming in a Mahindra Jeep, who stopped in front of truck, entered the same and took vehicle away. In case, keys were in possession of driver, or he had locked the cabin before going to attend the call of nature, culprits could not have just entered the vehicle and driven it away.

Repudiation letter issued by Insurance Company says it clearly that, insured vehicle was left unattended with keys inside vehicle, by driver, when alleged theft occurred and hence, there was negligence on part of the driver. It is generally seen that in every truck, besides the driver, there is another person called cleaner. In instant case, it is not clear whether there was any more person accompanying driver. In any case, if version of complainant was true, driver could have stated categorically that he had locked the vehicle and then went for urination. It is clear from the facts of case, therefore, that complainant is not entitled to claim under Insurance Policy as there has been negligence on their part, in leaving the keys inside, while going away from the vehicle.

Regarding delay in filing appeal, ignorance of law is no excuse. It is abundantly clear that, a time of 30 days only is allowed for filing appeals and time of 90 days is allowed for filing the revision petitions. Appellant has not been able to give any cogent reasons as to why there was delay in filing the said appeal.

Relevant : Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Tara Singh. Ajay Kamboj v. Divisional Manager, ICICI Lombard Zenith House & Anr.


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