Appeal No. 19/1999. Case: Asst. Secretary Life Insurance Corporation of India & Anr. Vs Ahmedabad Grahak Suraksha Sangh & Anr..

Case NumberAppeal No. 19/1999
CounselFor the Appellant: Shri H.J. Bhatt, Advocate and For the Respondent: Shri D.C. Mehta, Advocate
JudgesM.S. Parikh. President and Dr. M.K. Joshi, Member
IssueConsumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections 12 and 17
Judgement DateDecember 18, 2002

Order:

M.S. Parikh, (President)

  1. This appeal arises from order dated 19th December. 1998 rendered by the learned Ahmedabad City Consumer Disputes Redressed Forum in complaint No. 826/97. Impugned order reads as under:-

    "The opponents jointly and severally are directed to pay to the complainant No.2, the interest at the rate of 18% per annum from 1-6-95 to 17-2­-98 on the amount of Rs. 1,03,350/- and La pay the cost the Rs. 5,000/- to the complainant No.1 and to pay the cost of Rs. 5, 000/- to the complainant No.2."

  2. Short question that arises in this appeal is whether the complainant was justified in claiming any amount over and above the amount which was admittedly settled as ex-gratia payment while giving up the dispute which was raised in the complaint. It was an admitted fact that during the pen­dency of the complaint there was settlement of the claim. Accordingly for Rs. 1,03,350/- a discharge voucher without any reservation was also executed and handed over by the complainant to the opponent Life Insurance Corporation of India. The opponent Life insurance Corporation of India placed on record a detailed affidavit setting out procedure of settling the matters ex-gratia. Accor­dingly ex-gratia payment of claim would arise where there was no legal liability on the Life Insurance Corporation to make payment as in the case of repudiated claim or unconcluded contract. Such claims are being paid to mitigate hardship to the claimants by way of equitable relief. The analysis, particularly of a repudiated claim for consideration of an ex-gratia payment would be a skilful exercise on the part of the concerned officers of the opponent Life Insurance Corporation of India. During the course of such con­sideration some guidelines set up by the Life Insurance Corporation of India are also followed. As a part of such guidelines separate discharge voucher is prescribed in the Claims Inves­tigation Manual. Ex-gratia payment of claims would arise when there would not be any legal liability on the Corporation to make payment, as in the case of repudiated claim or uncon­cluded contract. In the present case learned Forum clearly appears to have overlooked this classical aspect of settlement of claims ex-gratio. In our considered opinion, therefore, on this limited ground this appeal is required to be allowed.

  3. At this stage Mr. D.C. Mehta, learned advocate appears for the original complainant and submits that complainant was not aware...

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