High Court Dismisses Insurance Company’s Challenge

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SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir high court has dismissed a petition by an insurance company against Rs 112000 awarded passed by the Divisional Consumer Protection Forum Kashmir in favour of man whose son allegedly disappeared in the custody of the ITBP in 2001.   

Divisional Manager National Insurance Co. Ltd had filed the petition before the court against order dated 14th July, 2012 passed by the Divisional Consumer Protection Forum, Kashmir and upheld by the J&K State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Srinagar in its order on 17th May, 2013. 

Both the forums concurrently held the man—father of the victim— entitled to sum of Rs.1 lakh to be paid by the Insurance Company. 

Besides, the man–Ghulam Hassan Koka–has been held entitled to sum of Rs.10,000 on account of mental pain and agony and sum of Rs.2000 as litigation charges. In total sum of Rs.1,12,000 has been awarded in favour of the Koka whose son  Mohammad Ashraf Koka, working as Process Server in the court of Sub Judge, Bijbehara, Anantnag. 

He was allegedly picked up by the personnel of ITBP, 10th Bn from his house on 27th October, 2001 and thereafter he never returned.

An FIR was also registered with Police Station, Dooru on 03.11.2001 under Section 302 and 201 RPC against 11 personnel of ITBP. Since there was nothing heard about Mohammad Ashraf Koka, the matter was taken note of by the Dy. Commissioner, Anantnag as head of the District Screening-cum-Coordination Committee, who on 12.02.2009 directed that Ashraf would be presumed as dead. On the basis of the order of the Dy. Commissioner and in view of the fact that his son was insured under Group Janta Accident Insurance Policy being employee in the court of Sub Judge, Bijbehara, Ghulam Hassan Koka approached the Insurance Company for indemnification. The case for indemnification of insurance claim was forwarded by the High Court on 05 February 2010 to the Nodal Officer, Finance Department, Civil Secretariat Jammu and the Nodal Officer concerned in turn forwarded the case to Insurance Company for release of the insured amount . the Insurance Company, however, did not entertain the claim and returned the same on the ground that it was time barred.

“We have given thoughtful consideration to this aspect of the matter and are in agreement with the view taken by the Divisional Forum. …the son of (Ghulam Hassan) did not die the natural death. He was allegedly picked upon by the personnel of 10th Bn. ITBP and thereafter he never returned. There is an FIR registered against 11 personnel of 10th Bn. ITBP with Police Station, Dooru under Section 302 and 102 RPC. Registration of FIR itself gives rise to presumption with regard to the unnatural death of the son of (Ghulam Hassan) presumably in the hands of concerned personnel of 10th Bn,” said a division bench of Justices Sanjeev Kumar and Sindhu Sharma. 

“All these factors taken cumulatively would demonstrate that the death of the son of respondent no.1 was due to external violence and, therefore, the plea of the petitioner-Insurance Company that it was not covered by the Insurance Company is without any substance,” the court said and dismissed it. 

 

 

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