Insurance company to pay Rs.4 mn for jewellery theft


New Delhi : A consumer court here has asked the New India Insurance Company to pay Rs.4 million as compensation to a customer whose jewellery was stolen from her car.

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The Delhi State Disputes Consumer Redressal Commission, presided over by Justice J.D. Kapoor, Wednesday directed the insurance company to pay Rs.4 million as assessed by the surveyor towards the cost of the stolen jewellery besides interest and Rs.10,000 as cost of litigation.

On March 21, 2006, Chandrika Thatai had taken out a pair of diamond solitaire earrings, two diamond bangles and a diamond pendant from her bank locker. She kept them in a small bag, which she put in a laptop bag and then placed in her car.

Later, she locked the car and left to purchase some medicines. When she returned, she found that the car door was open and the laptop bag along with the jewellery had been stolen.

The car had a central locking system, which ensures that if a door is locked through the driver seat keyhole, all the doors will be locked at the same time.

The jewellery had been insured by Chandrika’s husband Anoop Thatai and he filed an insurance claim. However, the company rejected it, saying that its investigator had found that she had not locked the car properly.

Anooop then filed a petition in the consumer court and the judge observed that in such cases the onus is heavily upon the insurance company to prove that the car was not locked properly since no person would leave such valuables in the car without taking proper care to lock it.

Justice Kapoor also said that whenever any complaint is lodged with the police in respect of a criminal offence like theft, it is the police alone who have the authority to investigate the crime.

“The insurance company cannot investigate the criminal offence. It can only appoint a surveyor to assess the loss occurred due to the theft,” he said.