Supreme Court bans sale of BS-III ve­hi­cles from April 1

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The Supreme Court has im­posed a ban on sale of BS-III ve­hi­cles from April 1, when the Bharat Stage (BS)-IV emis­sion norms for ve­hi­cles will come in force. The Supreme Court also clar­i­fied that no new BS-III reg­is­tra­tion will be al­lowed from April 1. How­ever, BS-III ve­hi­cles sold prior to March 31 will be al­lowed to regis­ter and will need to have proof of sale date.

The apex court said that it was im­por­tant for the auto in­dus­try to move away from com­mer­cial losses and fo­cus on en­vi­ron­ment norms given the hazardous pol­lu­tion con­di­tion. A bench of jus­tices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta ob­served that “health of the peo­ple is far, far more im­por­tant than the com­mer­cial in­ter­est of au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tures.” BS-IV ve­hi­cles have 80 per cent less par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM) and 50 per cent less NOx emis­sions, ac­cord­ing to a re­search find­ing. Con­cerns over alarm­ing rise in pol­lu­tion level had prompted the trans­port min­istry to an­nounce an early shift to BS-IV last year.

Don’t put strin­gent and ab­surd con­di­tions in in­surance pol­icy: Con­sumer court

A bench of VP Ut­pat and Onkar G Patil at Pune district con­sumer court has di­rected HDFC Ergo Gen­eral In­surance Com­pany Lim­ited, Kore­gaon Park, to pay Rs 1 lakh claim amount, along with 9 per cent p.a. in­ter­est since Fe­bru­ary 11, 2015, and Rs 10,000 costs, to a woman for re­ject­ing her claim over the death of her hus­band, cit­ing ‘flimsy rea­son’. The com­pany had ar­gued that her hus­band could not sur­vive for 30 days af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with crit­i­cal ill­ness.

Tanaji Ba­ji­rao Dud­hale, a res­i­dent of Ra­jgu­runa­gar in Khed taluka, had pur­chased a ‘sarva su­rak­sha star in­surance pol­icy’ from HDFC Ergo on Fe­bru­ary 10, 2012. The pol­icy was valid from Fe­bru­ary 10, 2012, to Fe­bru­ary 9, 2015, and as per terms and con­di­tions, the com­pany had agreed to pay Rs 1 lakh if the in­sured suf­fered from a crit­i­cal ill­ness. On De­cem­ber 26, 2014, Dud­hale died at a pri­vate hospi­tal in Chinch­wad due to acute myeloid leukemia, leav­ing be­hind his wife, Ur­mila, and three mi­nor chil­dren. He was the sole bread earner in the fam­ily.

HDFC Ergo re­jected Ur­mila’s plea for Rs 1 lakh com­pen­sa­tion. The com­pany did not dis­pute the va­lid­ity of the in­surance pol­icy and the crit­i­cal ill­ness suf­fered by the in­sured, but had ar­gued that for the crit­i­cal ill­ness to be ad­mis­si­ble un­der the pol­icy, the in­sured per­son had to sur­vive a pe­riod of 30 days from the time he was di­ag­nosed for such ill­ness.

The bench ob­served: “It is sig­nif­i­cant to note that birth and death of any­body is not in the hands of any per­son. In such cir­cum­stances, in­surance com­pany can­not put such strin­gent and ab­surd con­di­tion in the pol­icy. It is ex­pected that terms and con­di­tions of the pol­icy are al­ways ap­proved by In­surance Reg­u­la­tory and De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (IRDA). How­ever, such con­di­tion, which is against the pub­lic pol­icy and against the rule of mor­tal­ity, can­not be put. Hence, that con­di­tion is void ab ini­tio and it should be ig­nored.”

The bench slammed the gen­eral ten­dency among in­surance com­pa­nies to re­pu­di­ate le­git­i­mate claims and de­scribed the same as a “pitiable con­di­tion” for poor peo­ple who fall prey to the rosy pic­ture cre­ated by in­surance firms while at­tract­ing clients. “In cer­tain cases, in­surance com­pany should not con­test the claim when the claim ap­pears to be le­git­i­mate,” the bench said.

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