Registration Of FIR Not Required To Process Claim Of Death Due To Accident - J&K&L HC In Life Insurance Case
A Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi has affirmed that the registration of an FIR is not required for processing a case of death due to an accident.
While upholding the reasoning of the State Consumer Grievance Redressal Commission, the Bench said that "the case of such nature where the death of the insured has occurred due to injuries suffered from a fall, the registration of FIR may not be required. We are entirely in agreement with the Commission that in the case of this nature, the registration of FIR is not a sin qua non for processing the case under the policy of life insurance. Moreso, when there is other evidence in abundance to demonstrate that the deceased insured had died in an accident."
Counsel Shabaz Sikander appeared for the Appellant side, while Counsel Tufail Qadri appeared for the Respondent side.
The Life Insurance Corporation of India approached the High Court in an appeal against an order passed by the State Consumer Grievance Redressal Commission, whereby the Commission had allowed the complaint of the Respondents and awarded a sum of Rs. 6 lakhs along with 9% interest and litigation expenses of ₹25,000 to them.
In this case, the father of the Respondents had obtained a Life Insurance Policy with Rs. 3 Lakhs as sum assured. The policy contained a clause of “Double Accident Benefit” cover, which provided that in case the life insured would die due to accident during currency of the policy, the insurer i.e., Life Insurance Corporation would be liable to pay double the sum assured. During the validity of the policy, the insured accidently fell from the veranda of his house, and succumbed to the injuries he sustained.
Subsequently, the Respondents informed the LIC about the death of the insured, and provided them with the medical certificate, a copy of the death certificate issued by the Police and one also by the Patwari. However, the LIC rejected the claim on the ground that the claim submitted was without the copy of the FIR, if any, registered in the matter.
The State Consumer Grievance Redressal Commission came to the conclusion that filing of FIR in respect of an accidental death of a person in all cases is not a sin qua non for lodging a claim, and it rejected the stand of the LIC.
The High Court observed that "the view taken by the Commission is unexceptionable and in complete conformity with the legal position".
The Court further held that "Since the accident was not attributable to any act or omission of any person as such the respondents in their wisdom did not lodge an FIR in the matter. As a matter of fact, in the accidents of the nature that claimed the life of the father of the respondents, there is hardly any necessity to lodge an FIR. This is so because for such accident like a person falling from veranda and sustaining fatal injuries, nobody can be held responsible. It is in this backdrop, the Commission correctly held that in the case of such nature where the death of the insured has occurred due to injuries suffered from a fall, the registration of FIR may not be required."
Finding no substance in the appeal, the High Court dismissed the appeal.
Cause Title: Life Insurance Corporation of India & Anr. v. Hamida Bano & Anr.