His driver did not renew his licence within the one-month grace period, but two days after the vehicle got damaged in an accident.
That’s why the insurance firm is not liable to pay for the damages, the state commission told the complainant, Satappa Tanawade.
Kolhapur resident Tanawade had insured his Sawaraj Mazda tempo with New India Assurance Company for a year starting September 30, 2006.
On November 6, 2006 the tempo got damaged in an accident and he got it repaired.
But when he submitted his bills to claim insurance, the firm rejected the claim on the ground that tempo driver Riyaz Sheikh did not possess a valid licence at the time of accident.
Tanawade approached the Kolhapur district forum claiming that the insurance firm was guilty of deficiency in service.
He filed a consumer complaint claiming Sheikh had a driving licence valid till November 7, 2009, and demanded Rs 35,000 as insurance claim and Rs 10,000 for the “mental agony caused”.
The firm’s counsel said that Sheikh’s driving licence did not expire on November 7, 2009.
He argued that Sheikh’s licence was valid from September 9, 2003 to September 16, 2006. He then got it renewed from November 8, 2006 to November 7, 2009.
So, on the day of accident — November 6, 2006 — Sheikh did not have an effective licence.
But the forum directed New India Assurance Company to pay Rs 35,000 as damages.
The firm challenged the order in the state commission in October 2008.
Relying on a Supreme Court ruling that if the licence expires prior to the date of the accident and the driver gets its renewed after the accident, there is no liability on the insurance company, the commission held that “Sheikh renewed the licence with effect from November 8, 2006 and accident took place on November 6, 2006, so Sheikh did not have an effective licence on the day of the accident”.
“The firm is not liable to pay damages to the complainant,” the commission said, while quashing and setting aside the forum’s order.