Consumers' rights over suppliers of goods and services

In National Insurance Co Ltd v Hindustan Safety Glass Works Limited,(1) while considering Section 24-A of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the Supreme Court held that courts should take a pragmatic view of consumers' rights considering their relative disadvantage with regard to suppliers of goods or services. It was further held that the provision of limitation in the 1986 act could not be strictly construed to the disadvantage of a consumer where the supplier of goods or services was itself instrumental in causing a delay in the settlement of the consumer's claim.

Consumers' rights over insurers

In Om Prakash v Reliance General Insurance(2) the Supreme Court held that, in the context of a vehicle insurance policy, the mere failure of the vehicle owner to intimate the insurer immediately after the theft of the vehicle should not bar settlement of genuine claims, particularly when the delay in intimation or submission of documents was due to unavoidable circumstances. The Supreme Court further held that an insurer's decision to reject a claim should be made on valid – not technical – grounds.

For further information on this topic please contact Ajit Warrier at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co by telephone (+91 11 4159 0700) or email (ajit.warrier@amsshardul.com). The Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co website can be accessed at www.amsshardul.com.

Endnotes

(1) Civil Appeal 3883/2007 (and other connected appeals), (2017) 5 SCC 776, two-judge bench.

(2) Civil Appeal 15611/2017, (2017) 9 SCC 724, two-judge bench.

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