A contempt notice has been served upon the Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AICI) for allegedly failing to implement the MP High Court order to pay insurance claims to farmers for Rabi crop losses in winter 2013-14 due to hailstorm and unseasonal rain.
The notice has been served by a Gwalior-based lawyer, Sanjana Singh Raghuwanshi, upon whose petition the HC had in December 2014 asked the AICI to pay the insurance claims to the farmers hit by the hailstorm and rain.
The contempt notice was served following the AICI communicated to Sanjana in writing (dated November 9, 2015) that it had complied with the HC order by paying insurance claims of Rs 373.75 crores to the farmers. In the communication (a copy available with HT), AICI regional manager Krishna Prasad claimed that the claim amount has been disbursed on different dates between March 27 and May 15, 2015.
However, Pawan Singh Raghuwanshi, counsel for the petitioner, argued that by the state government’s own admission the Rabi crop losses due to hailstorm (in winter 2013-14) were around Rs 13,000 crores and at least 30,000 villages were hit.
“In such circumstances, claim payment worth only Rs 373.75 crore is too little. Also, the AICI officials have failed to specify whether this was general insurance claim or claim for damages due to hailstorm,” the lawyer said.
He added that the crux of the petition, filed in March 2014, was about payment of claims for damages due to hailstorm. The crop insurance claims for the affected farmers were sought under the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) on the ground that insurance premium (@ 1.5% of sum insured) was deducted from the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loan accounts of the farmers for the Rabi season too.
“On this basis we have served a contempt notice on the agriculture insurance company on November 10, seeking reply within 7 days. In case they fail, we would file a contempt petition against the company in HC,” the lawyer said.
AICI regional manager Krishna Prasad could not be contacted for comments.
Sanjana’s lawyer said the claim payment becomes more important because the farmers suffered Rabi crop losses due to hailstorm again in 2014-15 and later Kharif crop too was hit due to deficient rainfall in monsoon season this year.
The December 2014 HC order asking the AICI to pay insurance claims to the farmers affected by the hailstorm was unprecedented because before this hailstorm damage was never considered for insurance claims.