Case nº First Appeal No. 149 of 2007 of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, August 26, 2011 (case The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. through its Senior Manager and The New India Assurance Co. Ltd., through its General Manager Vs H.S. Poultry Farm, through its Partner, Sh. Kamaljit Singh [Alongwith First Appeal No. 187 of 2007])

President:V.R. Kingaonkar, J., Presiding Member and Vinay Kumar, Member
Defense:Consumer Law
Resolution Date:August 26, 2011
 
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Judgment:

V.R. Kingaonkar, Presiding Member, (New Delhi)

  1. Both the appeals, referred to above, are being decided together inasmuch as they arise out of same judgment and order rendered by the Punjab State Consumer Disputes redressal Commission, (for short, 'the State Commission') in complaint case No. 64/2002. First Appeal No. 149 / 2007 is preferred by the New India Assurance Co. Ltd. and Anr. The Appellants in that appeal will be referred to hereinafter as 'insurers'. They are aggrieved on account of award of compensation to the original complainant - M/s. H.S. Poultry Farm, Kartarpur. The latter has preferred First Appeal No. 87 / 2007 seeking enhancement of the rate of interest and that too from the date of repudiation of the claim by suitable modification of the impugned Judgment.

  2. There is no dispute about the fact that complainant - M/s. H.S. Poultry Farm, Kartarpur had insured two flocks of broiler parent birds. One of the places of poultry farm was at Canal Colony, Banga Road, Gharshankar. That poultry farm had housed 8850 poultry birds. Another flock of 9103 birds of tender age, approximately 10 days, was housed at another poultry farm in Sarai Khas.

  3. There is no dispute about the fact that the complainant had obtained insurance policy in respect of the two poultry farms mentioned above for period of 72 weeks vide Policy No. 4735080001220. Consolidated premium of Rs. 2,35,634/- was paid by the complainant on 17.03.2000. It appears that the complainant owned five (5) different poultry farms at different places, during the relevant period, though he had obtained insurance cover only for the two of such poultry farms. It also appears that the tender aged birds kept at Sarai Khas poultry farms were housed for the purpose of hatchery. The birds kept at the poultry farms situated in the locality of Canal Colony, Banga Road, Garhshankar were aged about 25 weeks and were on the verge of attaining age of laying of eggs.

  4. The case of the complainant as unfolded before the State Commission was that the flock of birds at the poultry farm in Canal Colony, Banga Road, Garhshankar was required to be shifted to poultry farm situated at Kartarpur. Therefore, necessary information about shifting of the birds was given to the insurers by letter dated 4.4.2000. The insurers acknowledged receipt of the said letter on 6.04.2000 and endorsed the policy accordingly. The birds shifted from the poultry farm at Canal Colony, Banga Road, Garhshankar which were 8850 in number to the H.S. Poultry Farm, Kartarpur were thus covered by the insurance policy. Unfortunately, the birds at the poultry farm at Kartarpur were infected due to disease and reportedly mortality started on 05.04.2000. The complainant gave information to the insurers on 7.04.2000 about death of birds. There was loss of 4550 birds due to epidemic disease between 5th April to 8th April 2000. The insurers appointed a surveyor to assess the loss. The surveyor perused the relevant record and made assessment of the loss at Rs. 11,92,140. The insurers did not accept the report of the surveyor. The claim was not settled. The complainant issued demand notice on 23.05.2002 but it was in vain. The complainant, therefore, sought compensation of Rs. 16,78,765/- inclusive of the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages and claimed interest @18% p.a. on that amount. By filing written statement, the insurers resisted the claim. The insurers alleged that the birds at Garhshankar poultry farms were already shifted on 4.4.2000 before the due endorsement was made on the insurance policy to allow such shifting of the birds to the new place. The insurers alleged that the information letter dated 4.4.2000 was reached to them on 6.04.2000 but prior to that so-called shifting was made. It was before such endorsement of the insurers that the mortality had started on 5.04.2000 itself. The insurers pointed out that on the very next day of such endorsement, i.e., on 07.04.2000, the claim was lodged by the complainant alleging...

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