Mumbai: A district consumer commission has directed the National Insurance Company to pay Rs1 lakh each to the families of six farmers who died of different reasons along with Rs20,000 for mental agony suffered and litigation costs. In three orders 9% interest per annum will have to be paid from the time of filing complaint (2012) while in the three other orders, the interest will be applicable if the amount is not given within 45 days.
The claims of the families were rejected by the insurer for different reasons that ranged from an unnatural death, death not due to accident, documents not being provided, claim not filed on time and details of legal heirs not provided, among others. The six whose families had approached the consumer commission had died either because they were attacked with weapons, due to electric shock, a tree branch falling, drowning, death due to injuries from falling off a bridge and an accident in which the deceased was riding pillion.
In one of the cases, the insurance firm rejected the claim saying that the deceased died while he was trying to make an unauthorised electricity connection, while the commission ruled that the post-mortem and police reports stated that he died of high voltage shock while cutting a tree branch. In another case, although the man was attacked with weapons and died later of head injury (murder), the firm's rejection was set aside by the commission citing an order from the National Commission which said that murder was also an accident as per ruling. Another claim was rejected stating a tree branch falling and the person dying later was not an accidental death. In the case of a man slipping off a bridge during Ganpati Visarjan and the other two cases, the commission cited case laws that stated the insurance company was obliged to depute an employee in the tehsil office to scrutinise the claim immediately. The commission uniformly stated in all the matters that the government intended to extend benefits of the scheme to the farmers and keeping that in mind, gave compensation.
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