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SC declines to hear PIL alleging fraud in LIC's 'Jeevan Saral' insurance policy

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 15, 2019  | 18:33 IST

(Eds: Adding details from the order ) New Delhi, Jul 15 (PTI) The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain an organisation's plea which alleged that the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) misled and cheated lakhs of its consumers through its 'Jeevan Saral' insurance policy. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta took note of the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the LIC, that a PIL under Article 32 of the Constitution should not be entertained as some of the aggrieved insurance purchasers have also been made parties to the plea. Moreover, the aggrieved insurance purchasers can also approach the consumer courts for redressal of their grievances, the law officer said. "The petitioner nos. 3 and 4 are persons who are directly affected and covered under the policy, which is the foundation of the challenge in the writ petition. We do not see how persons who are interested in the issue could have been made parties in the PIL filed. "We are, therefore, not inclined to entertain the present petition as a PIL, in which event the maintainability of the petition under Article 32 at the instance of the petitioner nos. 3 and 4 will be in serious doubts as they have an alternative remedy...or to initiate proceedings before the appropriate forum," the bench said. It said however that the petition was "dismissed", leaving the petitioners with the option to avail other remedies in law. "We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case," the bench said. Mehta said LIC takes approval of IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) before coming out with a policy and there was mechanism to deal with the grievances. Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the organisation, 'Money Life Foundation', said that the policy in question has cheated many consumers especially retired persons of their hard-earned money. As per the plea, the proposal form of the scheme did not have any provision to mention the lower maturity sum assured and rather it it had a provision only for the higher death benefit. The maturity benefit was not printed on even the policy documents and the customers may get lesser money than the total premium paid, the plea alleged. The organisation said that the policy holders were not in a position to raise dispute individually and hence, they came together to form an NGO to pursue the case. The plea had sought the return of the premium of the policy-holders with 8 per cent interest. PTI SJK RKS SA

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