However, for Haji Shamshuddin Marchawala, the agony didn’t end there as he had to battle for nearly two decades to get his dues from the insurance firm.
The spice trader, who runs Alvi Trading Company, finally got justice after 19 years when the court of additional senior civil judge in Vadodara ordered the insurance firm to pay him Rs 7.6 lakh with 6% interest from the date rejection of the claim.
Marchawala had taken a standard fire and special perils short policy for three months in February 2002. Interestingly, he had refused government compensation as he had an insurance policy.
On February 28, his shop that had a large stock of red chilli was reduced to ashes and some was looted by the rioters. Marchawala claimed that he had suffered a loss of Rs 9 lakh to Rs 9.5 lakh and filed a complaint at Panigate police station.
The plaintiff, represented by advocate N N Patel, said that the stock in his shop was worth Rs 7.5 lakh.
The insurance firm, however, rejected the claim by saying that the complainant didn’t own the purchases (stock) and does not have any insurable interest to cover the insured goods. Marchawala, who filed a suit in the civil court in 2003, said that though his books and accounts were gutted in the fire, he tried to satisfy the surveyor by furnishing documents, including those from the banks and supplier.
The insurer also argued that the stock was owned by three other traders and that the complainant had just stored it to sell and earn commission. As he didn’t own the stock, he doesn’t come under the purview of the policy. The firm also said in the court that the he didn’t file evidence between 2003 to 2015 to intentionally delay the suit.
The court said that the plaintiff has proof that he already made payment to suppliers of the goods but the insurance firm couldn’t establish that the goods didn’t belong to him and were kept for others. There was a dispute over how much stock was lying in the shop and Marchawala had presented certificates and confirmation letters from his suppliers showing the goods he had purchased.
The court allowed the suit partly and ordered the National Insurance Co. Ltd to pay Rs 7.6 lakh with simple interest at the rate of 6% to the complainant from October 16, 2002.