An ombudsman at the head office of an insurance company, having branches across the country, would have the jurisdiction to decide on insurance-related matters, the Delhi High Court has held.
Justice Vibhu Bhakru observed this while hearing a plea filed by Uttar Pradesh-resident Gudda, challenging the decision of insurance ombudsman in Delhi declining to hear his plea on the ground of jurisdiction.
The high court, however, said, "the principal office of the insurer is located in Delhi and, even if it is accepted that the concerned branch office is located in Noida, the ombudsman at Delhi still has the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint made by the petitioner".
It asked the insurance ombudsman at Noida to decide the insurance-related complaint in four weeks and disposed of the plea of the man whose claim was earlier rejected.
"The counsel for the petitioner states that he would have no objection if the Ombudsman at Noida decides the complaint and if directions for time bound disposal of the complaint are issued," the court noted.
Gudda had filed a claim before the IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company at Saket in South Delhi which was rejected.
He again made the representation in November 2016, but the IFFCO did not respond.
He had then approached the insurance ombudsman in Delhi from where his complaint was transferred to Noida saying he resided in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi has no jurisdiction.
Advocate Pankaj Garg, assisted by counsel Milind Garg, said that as per Rule 13 of the Redress of Public Grievance Rules, 1998, the ombudsman within whose jurisdiction the branch or office of the insurer is located, would have the jurisdiction.
The court agreed to their contention and held that it had merit.
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