The district consumer disputes redressal forum, Panchkula, has dismissed the contention of Oriental Insurance Company (OIC) that a locked wooden box, from which cash was stolen, could not be described as "safe". It has awarded the earlier-denied claim of Rs 25,000, plus Rs 3,000 compensation for harassment and cost of litigation, to Aakarshan Stationary Cards and Gifts Shop, Sector 11, Panchkula.
A burglary had taken place at the shop on the night of December 9, 2011, as part of a spree of thefts at 10 shops in Sectors 9, 10, 11 and 15. The loss for Aakarshan was articles worth Rs 1.16 lakh and Rs 25,000 cash, which were lying in a wooden box. The owner of the shop, Mukesh Chander, had taken the Shopkeepers' Insurance Policy from OIC, effective from January 27, 2011 to January 26, 2012.
But the firm approved claim for only the theft of the articles and not the Rs 25,000 cash, as it claimed that the money was not lying in the "safe". It relied on two survey reports - one of February 27, 2012, which counted the loss after theft from the wooden box, and a second dated July 15 this year, which denied the claim of cash.
The forum, comprising president Ashok Kumar Jain and members Anil Kumar Sharma and Anita Kapoor, observed in its November 7 order that no reasons were given in the additional report why the first report - which said the cash was lying in the wooden cash counter and taken away by breaking the lock - was changed. "The additional report can be submitted on the request of the insurer within 15 days of the receipt of original survey report. However, in [this] case, additional report was submitted by the surveyor after unexplained delay of about 16 and half months," the forum said.