State Consumer Commission cancels accidental insurance claim, says murder was pre-planned

The Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Resolution Commission refused to treat a premeditated murder as an accidental murder case. Reversing the order of the Surat District Consumer Forum, it denied the amount of the accident insurance policy to the widow of the deceased.

The case concerned Vaishali Gajjar from Surat whose husband Nilesh Gajjar was stabbed to death on September 11, 2012 by his business partner following a dispute over a few land deals. The partner had previously made death threats against Gajjar. He received 41 stab wounds resulting in his death.

Gajjar had various insurance policies, including an accident insurance policy from the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), which refused to pay the insurance amount, saying the matter did not fall within the definition of accidental murder. Gajjar’s wife sued the insurer with the district consumer forum.

The LIC argued that Gajjar’s partner had committed premeditated murder and that it was a contract killing. In 2015, the forum ordered the LIC to pay him Rs 13.80 lakh. The LIC appealed to the state commission.

Citing various judgments from higher authorities, it has further been argued that if a murder is committed in an attempted robbery case where the murderer does not intend to kill a person, it can be termed as accidental murder . However, Gajjar’s murder drew criminal charges of homicide, criminal conspiracy, and aiding and abetting; therefore, the state commission agreed with the LIC that it was not an accidental murder.

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