UPSC LAW OPTIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS FOR MAINS 2019/2020 - LAW OF TORTS
FACTS OF THE CASE : The case concerns the death of a man, Debhashis Bhattacharjee, who died of multiple organ failure after being diagnosed with encephalitis malaria contracted from a mosquito bite he sustained while working in Mozambique in 2012.
INSURANCE POLICY : His insurance policy covered personal accidents. The company had argued that a mosquito bite cannot be classified as a ‘personal accident’ covered under the policy.
CONSUMER COURT DISMISSED COMPANY PLEA : Both the State and the National Consumer Dipsutes Redressal Commissions dismissed the plea made by the insurance company, National Insurance Limited, that the man died as a result of an infection.
STATE COMMISSION HELD : It would be “rather silly” to call a sudden death due to mosquito bite in a foreign land a natural death and not an accident.
NATIONAL COMMISSION HELD : If the insurance company could cover events like snake bite, frost bite and dog bite then why not mosquito bites.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA : A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud disagreed with the conclusions of both the Consumer Disputes Commissions . In his 16-page judgment, Justice Chandrachud acknowledged that being “bitten by a mosquito is an unforeseen eventuality”.
REASONING : Malaria is too common in Mozambique. “It is on record that one out of three people in Mozambique is afflicted with malaria. In light of these statistics, the illness of encephalitis malaria through a mosquito bite cannot be considered as an accident. It was neither unexpected nor unforeseen. It was not a peril insured against in the policy of accident insurance,” Justice Chandrachud set aside the decisions of the Consumer Disputes Commission.
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