Srinagar: The J&K High Court has rejected as “devoid of merit” the claim by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company that it will attract wrath of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) if it settles a claim of more than Rs 20,000 without receiving a report from the loss assessor.
“The objections are totally devoid of merit. It is well settled that the High Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 103 of the State Constitution can issue writ to anybody—private or public to undue injustice,” a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said.
“Moreover, the Insurance Companies are discharging public functions and they cannot avoid Mandamus issued under the provisions of Article 226 particularly in the circumstances obtaining in the Valley created by unprecedented floods.”
The court said that the miseries of flood ravaged people have to be eased out by giving them some relief.
“Moreover, the orders passed by this court were subjected to challenge by four Insurance Companies before the Supreme Court where the SLP has been dismissed,” the court said, recalling its September 26 order, making it clear that the directions would apply to Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company and Lombard General Insurance Company as well.
“Therefore, there Is no substance in the objections raised. The apprehension raised with regard to action by IRDA will have to be repelled. Once the court has taken notice of extra-ordinary situation which has been approved by the Supreme Court, then (the) objections are simply ‘frivolous’.”
The directions followed submissions by advocate Jahangir Iqbal Ganie, pointing out the averments made by the Bajaj Allianz in its status report.
According to the report, Ganie said, an objection has been taken that it was a private company and that it was subject to the regulatory control and authority of IRDA, established under Section 3 of the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India Act, 1999.
The company had made a reference to Section 64UM(2), forbidding an Insurance Company from settling a claim of more than Rs.20,000 unless it receives a report from the loss assessor under the Act.