The Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission refused to treat a pre-meditated murder as an accidental-murder case. Reversing the Surat district consumer forum’s order, it denied the amount of the accident insurance policy to the deceased’s widow.
The case involved 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 earlier issued death threats to Gajjar. He was dealt 41 knife 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, claiming that the case 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 committed pre-meditated murder and that it was a contract killing. In 2015, the forum ordered the LIC to pay her Rs 13.80 lakh. The LIC appealed to the state commission.
By citing various judgments of higher authorities, it was further argued that if a murder is committed in an attempt-to-robbery case where the murderer does not have the intention to kill a person, it can be called accidental murder. However, Gajjar’s murder attracted criminal charges of homicide, criminal conspiracy and abetment; hence the state commision agreed with the LIC that it was not an accidental murder.