Surveyor’s report exparte-not signed by any witness-not reliable-insurer informed of incident-liable.

The insured on the basis of a loan from State bank opened a shop. The shop was insured for a sum with the above insurer for a sum of Rs.60000/-. In May2001 on one night there was a storm due to which a tree fell on the shop damaging it. A claim was filed with the insurer which appointed a surveyor who inspected the premises and assured the insured that she will be paid the amount of loss. The insurer for a long time did not pay the amount of claim. The complainant filed a complaint before the district forum where the insurer admitted the claim to the tune of Rs.40000/-. The contention of the insurer was that the complainant did not cooperate with the investigation and also did not produce papers called for by the surveyor on different dates and her total loss was just Rs.2023/- and compensation be limited to this amount of loss. It was observed by the court that the complainant obtained a loan of Rs.50000/- from the bank but the payment of Rs.31500/- was released by bank directly to dealers from whom article for the shop were bought and nothing was paid directly to complainant. The report of the surveyor was ex-parte as there was no signature of anybody to show that the surveyor actually visited the shop, therefore the report of surveyor was not reliable. The forum also held that there was no delay on the part of the complainant. The district forum after relying upon the evidence, photographs of damage etc. allowed Rs.20000/- as compensation on the basis that at least 50% articles would have been damaged. In appeal by the insurer to the appellate court, an adverse view was taken of the conduct of the complainant as she remained absent on numerous dates of hearings of appeal before the appellate court. The complainant did not produce any papers also before the appellate court. It was observed that there is report of the surveyor but nothing on behalf of the complainant. The conclusion was that since the payment was made by the bank to the dealer, therefore the articles have definitely been purchased but even if the articles are presumed to have been purchased then also there is no evidence that those articles have not been sold by the complainant and if she has sold any article she has rather produced it. The appellate court criticized the basis of arriving at the compensation amount arrived at by the district forum. The loan it was observed was for Rs.31500/- (partly released amount) and on basis of 50% loss was not more than Rs.15750/-.
There was no evidence also of complainant paying anything from her pocket to any dealer. The statement of the surveyor was ex-parte as he did not obtain signatures of any witness.

Held: Complainant allowed a compensation of Rs.10000/- along with costs Rs.500/-.