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Supreme Court Says Death Due To Insect Bite Will Not Be Covered Under Accident Insurance

The Supreme Court of India has made an observation that any diseases caused or transmitted by insect bite/virus in the natural course of events would not be covered under the definition of accident. The above statement was made in the case of Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd Vs. Mousumi Bhattacharjee, the petitioner made an appeal challenging the order of the National Consumer Commission before the Apex court in which the above finding has been made out.

The One Mr. Debashish Bhattacharjee (insurer) was working as Manager of a Tea Estate in Assam. He thereafter took up employment in 2012 as a Manger of Tea factory at Cha-De-Magoma, Gurue District, Zambezia Province, Republic of Mozambique. During his stay in Mozambique, the insurer was admitted to the hospital on 14 November 2012. He was diagnosed with encephalitis malaria and died on 22 November 2012 due to multi-organ failure. The report says that a mosquito bite which caused disease so-called malaria and damaged his multi-organs that lead to death.

Legitimate Struggle

After his death his spouse has filed litigation before the District Consumer Dispute Redressed Forum praying to pass an order for paying her the insurance amount with outstanding. The appellant has filed their written argument stating that the death caused due to malicious decease will not be covered under accidental claim, but the plea was rejected by the forum and allowed the petition on the ground that the death due to disease is also an accident hence, the claim can be considered. Then the appeal made by the appellant before the State Commission and the same was dismissed by upholding findings of the District forum order.

Then What Is An Accident?

An unpleasant event, especially in a vehicle, that happens unexpectedly and causes injury or damage, secondly something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned in advance[i]which say the accident should be one that causes damages/injury which is essential element highlighted in the aforementioned definition and in another view of definition, the scope of the term accident was widenedan unforeseen and injurious occurrence due to mistake, negligence, neglect or misconduct, an unanticipated and towards event that cause(s) harm[ii]

You may also think of, what may be an accident? which an act becomes an accident? which acts are accidents?. Every individual with ordinary prudence will have a different perspective from each other in definition an act, but in aggregate definitely there will be a common terms in all perspective in defining an accident. It may a sudden occurrence, nonpredictable, unexpected and unanticipated. In other words, the occurrence will take place beyond a human act, you agree?

Matter Reached The Supreme Court

The National Commission upheld the order of the District Forum and State Commission and directed the insurance company to pay the insurance amount with outstanding. Aggrieved by the said order of National Commission the appellant filed an appeal before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India.

The highest apex court have critically examined whether the disease (malaria) caused by mosquito bite comes under the scope of the accident or not? While looking at it, the World Population Prospects 2017 report published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, nearly one out of three people in Mozambique Contracted malaria.

By considering the report, the Supreme Court arrived a decision that, as the majority of persons have effected in malaria due to mosquito bite, hence there is a chance of predicting the mosquito bite in Mozambique so the death of a person from malaria cannot be regarded as death caused by accident to make it obligatory for an insurance company to compensate the insurer.

Chance Of Mosquito Bite

The court made an observation that getting flu or viral illness may be a matter of chance. But a person who gets the flu cannot be described as having suffered an accident. As the United Nation report says with a population of 29.6 million people in the place of Mozambique in an account for 5% of people has caused malaria by a mosquito bite, hence is predictable that there is a chance of mosquito bite if we go there. Did you think this decision arrived by the above finding of the Hon'ble Supreme court was chilly and shocking!

Apex Court Known's When A Mosquito Will Bite

The above findings of the apex court are completely hilarious in nature, in which the SC says mosquito bite can be predicted as Mozambique is a disease-prone area. We may have a contrary, for example, if we travel in airplane there is chance of an accident, hence if any person dead in-flight crash, it not an accident in comparison to apex court findings?

Taking the minority of 5% in the total population of Mozambique who gets infected by malaria and got dead, will not come under the scope of the accident. Whether they expect the disease when a mosquito bite, which is best known to the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in deciding the matter.

Tone Of Common Man

If a person is sleeping in her/his room have got bite by a snake which is an accident or disease? Whether he can claim the insurance amount on the scope of the accidental claim. How the Supreme Court has arrived to a conclusion that a mosquito bite can be guessed which causes malaria disease which extends to death. Before going to the legality, the Learned Justices have failed to purview the decision made by the District, State and National Commission made a positive view for the respondent to be given with insurance amount.

Whereas the head of the family is been demised which would create a grave situation for that family in financial aspects which should also be a consideration in deciding a matter. By way, this insurance amount would help their family to fulfill their day to day needs which was curtailed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India.

Justice is the act by which the Society/Court/Tribunal gives to a man what he entitled to, as opposed to protecting against injury or wrong. Justice is the rendering of what is right equitable towards one who has suffered a wrong. Therefore, while tempering the justice with mercy, the court has to very conscious that it has to do justice in exact conformity to some obligatory law for that human actions are found to be just or unjust as they are in conformity with or in opposition to the law [iii]. Whether proper justice is rendered let the readers decide.

  1. Oxford Advanced Leaner's Dictionary (8th Edition)
  2. Black's Law Dictionary (9th Edition)
  3. Girimallappa v. The Special Land Acquisition Officer M and MIP &Anr. AIR 2012 SC 3101; Union of India &Ors v. Ex-GNR Ajeet Singh (2013) 4 SCC186.

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