Pushpa Girimaji

Two months again, I purchased a brand new automobile. It was delivered with a short lived registration quantity, legitimate for a month. I used to be to get a brand new everlasting registration earlier than the expiry of the validity of the short-term license however earlier than I might apply, I fell sick with Covid-19. In the meantime, my son took the automobile to a close-by market to choose up some fruits and when he returned, the automobile was lacking. The automobile had a complete insurance coverage coverage overlaying theft, however the insurance coverage firm is refusing to pay the insured quantity on the bottom that the automobile didn’t have a sound registration on the time of theft. Can I problem this earlier than the buyer court docket?

To your easy query on whether or not you may problem this earlier than the buyer court docket, I’d say sure you may. You’ve got each proper to problem the choice of the insurance coverage firm in repudiating your declare, in the event you really feel it’s unfair. You are able to do so earlier than the buyer court docket and even the insurance coverage ombudsman. Nonetheless, I remorse to say that your possibilities of successful the case and getting the insured cash are skinny.

On what foundation are you saying this?

Before everything, I need to emphasize that driving a car in a public place with out registration and show of that registration is a violation of the Motor Automobiles Act. Part 39 of the Act casts a duty on the proprietor of the car to make sure that nobody drives his car in a public place or anyplace else except it’s registered and the car carries a registration mark displayed within the prescribed method.

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Lately, the Supreme Courtroom reiterated that plying a car with no certification of registration shouldn’t be solely a violation of the Motor Automobiles Act, but additionally a basic breach of the insurance coverage coverage situation and one can’t discover fault with the insurer for repudiating such claims. (United India Insurance coverage Co Vs Sushil Kumar Godara -CA No 58879 of 2021, order: September 30, 2021)

Right here the complainant’s new automobile had a short lived registration for a month from June 20, 2011, to July 19, 2011, and likewise an insurance coverage cowl for Rs 6,17,800. On July 28, the complainant drove to Jodhpur on work, stayed at a visitor home and parked his automobile outdoors the visitor home. Subsequent morning, he discovered the automobile lacking.

The insurance coverage firm repudiated his declare for indemnification of loss on three grounds: (a) that the automobile didn’t have a registration; (b) Intimation of the theft was given to the insurer after a delay — once more a violation of the coverage situation; and (c) he had left the car unattended outdoors the visitor home — one other breach.

Each the State Fee and the Nationwide Disputes Redressal Fee directed the insurer to pay. The Supreme Courtroom, nonetheless, deferred and put aside the order. Whereas doing so, it identified that after the expiry of the car’s short-term registration, the buyer not solely drove it in a public place, but additionally went to a different metropolis and parked it in a single day in a spot apart from his premises. And there was nothing on report to point out that he had utilized for everlasting registration and was awaiting registration.

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The Supreme Courtroom additionally stated it was of no consequence that on the time the theft passed off, it was not plying on the highway. The fabric reality was that it was pushed to a spot from the place it was stolen, after the expiry of the short-term registration.

The Supreme Courtroom on this case additionally referred to its binding judgment in Narinder Singh Vs New India Assurance Firm (CA No 8463 of 2014) whereby it had handled an analogous case, aside from the truth that in that case the car had met with an accident. Observing that the Nationwide Fee mustn’t have neglected and disregarded its binding order in Narinder Singh case, the Supreme Courtroom reiterated: “…when an insurable incident that doubtlessly leads to legal responsibility happens, there needs to be no basic breach of the situations contained within the contract of insurance coverage.”

I want to remind all customers to not ever use their autos with out registration, insurance coverage cowl and a sound driving license. And at all times renew your insurance coverage effectively in time.

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