2019(5) ALL MR (JOURNAL) 24
Delhi High Court
JUSTICE PREM NARAIN
Classic Bakery & Anr. Vs. Tata AIG General Insurance Company Ltd. & Anr.
First Appeal No.362 of 2015.
26th April 2019
Petitioner Counsel: Mr. PRAMOD K. AHUJA
Mr. JASWANT SINGH,
Mr. HIMANSHU SUPRA
Respondent Counsel: Ms. ANJALLI BANSALL Ms. CHETNA BHALLA
Act Name: Consumer Protection Act, 1986 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
Section 2 Consumer Protection Act, 1986 Section 39 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Section 192 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
Cases Cited :
Paras 7, 10, 13: Narinder Singh Vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., 2014 ALL SCR 3287 : IV (2014) CPJ 11 (SC)Paras 14, 15: M/s. Bharat Construction Vs. Divisional Manager, F.A. No 423/2010, Dt.29.06.2018 (NC)
PREM NARAIN, Presiding Member :- This appeal has been filed by the appellants namely Classic Bakery & Anr. against the order dated 01.04.2015 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (in short ‘the State Commission’), passed in C.C. No. 12/2015. 2. The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner purchased a Fortuner car for sum of Rs. 20,92,981. The vehicle was insured with the respondent/opposite party w.e.f. 26.02.2014, which was valid till 25.02.2015. The vehicle met with an accident on 30.04.2014. The insurance claim of the petitioner was repudiated vide letter dated 14.10.2014 of the insurance company – opposite party on the ground that vehicle was not having permanent registration number on the date of accident and temporary registration number had already expired. 3. The appellant then filed a case against the insurance company bearing C.C. No. 12/2015 before the State Commission. The complaint was resisted by the insurance company – opposite party mainly on the ground that vehicle did not have permanent registration number at the time of accident, which is violation of section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. However, the State Commission vide its order dated 01.04.2015 dismissed the complaint. Hence, the present appeal. 4. Heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused the record. 5. Learned counsel for the appellants stated that the complainant had already applied for regular registration number to the Transport Authority and the vehicle was also inspected on 18.03.2014 by the concerned inspector of the Transport Authority. Learned counsel further argued that application was made before the expiry of the temporary registration number which expired on 25.03.2014, therefore, if the delay is caused by the inspecting authority or the registering authority, the complainant cannot be asked to suffer on this account. The required fee of Rs.1,18,021/- was ultimately deposited on 05.05.2014 for permanent registration number. 6. It was further argued by the learned counsel for the appellant that the insurance company is not able to tell as to which provision of the policy has been violated. Section 192 of the Motor Vehicle Act deals with penal provision for violating section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. Section 39 prohibits any person to ply on road any vehicle without registration and section 192 provides for penalty for such violation. Learned counsel argued that these are independent provisions and if complainant did not have the registration number, he will be dealt with u/s. 192 of the Motor Vehicle Act. However, the insurance should not be affected from this deficiency on the part of the complainant as it is separately provided for. In fact, the vehicle is insured and vehicle remains insured even if there is no registration number and insurance company cannot deny the insurance claim only on the basis that the vehicle did not have any registration number on the date of accident. The present case is on higher footing that complainant had already deposited the fee for permanent registration number though after the accident and the vehicle was also inspected by the registering authority prior to the expiry of the temporary registration. 7. The learned counsel for the appellant/complainant however argued that the opposite party has relied on the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Narinder Singh Vs. New ndia Assurance Co. Ltd., IV (2014) CPJ 11 (SC) : [2014 ALL SCR 3287] but in the judgment Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed the following:-“14. Indisputably, a temporary registration was granted in respect of the vehicle in question, which had expired on 11.1.2006 and the alleged accident took place on 2.2.2006 when the vehicle was without any registration. Nothing has been brought on record by the appellant to show that before or after 11.1.2006, when the period of temporary registration expired, the appellant, owner of the vehicle either applied for permanent registration as contemplated under Section 39 of the Act or made any application for extension of period as temporary registration on the ground of some special reasons. In our view, therefore, using a vehicle on the public road without any registration is not only an offence punishable under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act but also a fundamental breach of the terms and conditions of policy contract.” 8. On the basis of the above observation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the learned counsel for the appellant argued that in the present case, the complainant had already applied for permanent registration number and the vehicle was also inspected before the expiry of the temporary registration number. Hence, from the above observation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it seems that if the complainant had applied for permanent registration number as per the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, perhaps the insurance company would be liable to pay the insurance claim, though it is not mentioned in so clear words, however, the above observation of the Hon’ble Supreme court implies the same. 9. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent – insurance company stated that the policy has been issued alongwith certain conditions and even if no specific condition is written in the policy for observance of provisions of Motor Vehicles Act or Rules, no insurance claim under any policy would be permissible if law of the country is violated. In the present case, temporary registration expired on 25.03.2014 and the complainant did not obtain the permanent registration number from 26.03.2014, whereas accident occurred on 30.04.2014 and fee for permanent registration number was deposited only on 05.05.2014. This clearly shows that vehicle did not have any valid permanent registration number on the date of accident. 10. Learned counsel for the respondent – insurance company relied upon the judgment of Narinder Singh Vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. [2014 ALL SCR 3287] (supra) , wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court decided that insurance claim was not payable because the vehicle was not registered on the date of accident. It was further argued that first of all, filing application before the Registering Authority and the vehicle having been inspected would not make any difference if fee for registration was not deposited within the prescribed period under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. In the present case fee was deposited on 05.05.2014 i.e. after accident happened on 30.04.2014. Complainant deposited the fee only to cover up the lacuna of non-registration of the vehicle to get the insurance claim. The vehicle was being run freely on the road in violation of the provisions of section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act which is clearly a fundamental breach of the conditions of the policy as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Narinder Singh Vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. [2014 ALL SCR 3287] (supra). The learned counsel further stated that the State Commission has rightly dismissed the complaint and the appeal deserves to be dismissed. 11. Learned counsel for respondent no. 2 stated that respondent no. 2 has financed the vehicle and they would support the claim of the complainant. If the claim is approved, the dues of respondent no. 2 should be liquidated first. 12. I have carefully considered the arguments advanced by all the parties and have examined the material on record. So far as the application for permanent registration is concerned, the State Commission has observed the following:“22. The principal question, which arises for consideration, is, as to whether the complainants had applied for permanent registration, after expiry of temporary registration on 25.03.2014 and by 30.04.2014 when the vehicle met with an accident. No doubt, the complainants got the vehicle inspected from the Inspecting Authority on 18.03.2014, as is evident from the certificate (at page 87) but the application form for the registration of motor vehicle being undated, meaning thereby that it did not specify the date on which the same, after getting the inspection of vehicle, was submitted to the Registering Authority. In Annexure R-2, which is a copy of ‘Tata AIG Call Centre - Auto Own Damage & Partial Theft) claims Notification’, against the column “Vehicle Make & Registration Number”, “TOYOTA - FORTUNER FY 4X2 MT” had been written, It means that, as on 5.5.2014, the complainants either did not apply for permanent registration or, if applied, they were not aware of the same but the mere fact that the vehicle was got inspected on 18.03.2014 did not establish that the complainants applied for permanent registration on 18.03.2014. On the other hand, as per high security plate authorization slip (page 96), the registration date was indicated to be 5.5.2014. As per fee receipt No.EF9403 dated 5.5.2014, road tax, registration of car and smart card fee, totalling Rs.1,18,021/- were deposited on 5.5.2014. The registration certificate (at page 88) also shows the date of issuance of registration certificate as 5.5.2014. In FIR No.90 dated 30.04.2014 lodged at Police Station Beas, there is no mention of the vehicle registration number, which proved that the complainants applied for the registration of vehicle after 30.04.2014. Even letter dated 12.7.2014 of the complainants written to Sh. P. K. Bansal, Surveyors and Loss Assessors (Annexure R-5), indicates that when they (complainants) allegedly produced documents for the purpose of registration certificate, it was informed that new series was being released and, therefore, the number of choice was to be given in the auction of the same to be held very soon. Accordingly, registration No.CH-01-AX-7236 was given on 5.5.2014. No cogent evidence in support of this contention has been produced. The fee receipt does not reveal any charges for the choice number and, therefore, the contention of the complainants is apparently devoid of truth. From the aforesaid narration of facts and documents, it is proved that the complainants had not actually applied for permanent registration of the vehicle, in question, by 30.04.2014 when it met with an accident especially when the temporary registration had expired on 25.03.2014. The complainants were not having valid registration certificate on the date of accident.” 13. From the above observation of the State Commission, it is seen that the application is undated and it is not clear as to when the same was submitted before the Registering Authority. Moreover, the registration fee has to be submitted alongwith the application and the registration fee has been deposited only on 05.05.2014 i.e. after the date of accident. Thus, clearly no valid application was submitted by the complainant before accident to the Registering Authority. So far as assertion of the learned counsel for the complainant in respect of the observation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in for filing Narinder Singh Vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. [2014 ALL SCR 3287] (supra), of the application for permanent registration number is concerned, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has only mentioned this fact to support their decision that if a vehicle is not registered on the date of accident, there would be no claim of insurance. Assertion of the learned counsel is only on assumption that if the complainant has applied for permanent registration, he will get advantage for getting the insurance claim. The fact of the matter is that the vehicle was not registered on the date of accident and even proper application alongwith registration fee was not submitted before the date of accident. Thus, the issue of filing of application for permanent registration number, loses its relevance in the present matter. 14. This Commission in case titled as M/s. Bharat Construction Vs. Divisional Manager in F.A. No 423 of 2010 decided on 29.06.2018 has held as under:-“12. Xxxx. Hence, in these circumstances, clearly the vehicle was being run without any registration in contravention of Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. This is a fundamental violation of the Motor Vehicle Act and also a fundamental breach of the terms and conditions of the policy because the policy contract cannot be sustained if the provisions of any other relevant law have been violated because no contract would be valid if it contravenes any law of the land.” 15. From the above observation of this Commission in M/s. Bharat Construction Vs. Divisional (Manager Supra) it is clear that non-registration of a vehicle is not only a violation Manager (supra), of provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, but it is also a fundamental breach of terms and conditions of the Motor Insurance Policy because the policy contract becomes voidable at a discretion of the Insurer due to the violation of the relevant law i.e. the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. 16. Based on the above discussion, I do not find any merit in the appeal and order passed by the State Commission is based on correct appreciation of fact and law. Therefore, F.A. No. 362 of 2015 is dismissed.