A murder cannot be treated as an accidental death unless there are facts to show that the perpetrators had no intention of killing the person.
This was one of the grounds on which the First Additional Bangalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum rejected the complaint seeking settlement of the personal accident claim of Rajesh Artham, a software engineer who was murdered in Bangalore on January 10, 2005.
“We are unable to make out that the son of the complainant was murdered in furtherance of any other felonious act and that the offenders had no intention of killing or murdering the son of the complainant?. Since the son of the complainant was murdered, his death cannot be construed as an accidental death,” the forum observed.
Artham had a Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. credit card which provided a personal accident insurance plan. The National Insurance Company (NIC) had tied up with HSBC to provide the insurance cover for credit card holders.
Artham was murdered at a lodge in Upparpet police station limits. His parents, A. Bhagyalakshmi and A. Prakash, came to know on January 15, 2005. Ms. Bhagyalakshmi informed HSBC six days later, which, in turn asked her to get in touch with the NIC.
When she filed the claim request in June 2005, the NIC said that the claim was under progress. She corresponded with the two companies but said that the correspondence was lost while shifting house in December 2005.
The HSBC and the NIC said that the complainant gave intimation of Artham’s death on November 29, 2006. The notice of death was not given within 30 days and the claim was not filed within two months as stipulated in the terms and conditions of the service guide. The forum refused to accept Ms. Bhagyalakshmi’s contention that the service guide was given only on February 28, 2008.
The forum members, H.V. Bajentri, C.V. Rajamma and Keshav Rao Patil, agreed with the other points raised by the HSBC and NIC for rejection of the claim.
It found that Artham’s credit card was not active as there had been no transactions 89 days prior to his death. The service guide stipulates that the insurance cover will be for “active” primary credit card holders, who have utilised the card at least three times for purchases or cash advance transactions within 89 days.
In its judgment on August 20, the forum refused to agree with Ms. Bhagyalakshmi’s contention that her son’s death was an accident. It relied on the Supreme Court Ruling (II (2000) ACC 291) that observed, “?if the dominant intention of the act of felony is to kill any particular person then such killing is not an accidental murder but is a murder simpliciter, while if the cause of murder or act of murder was originally not intended and the same was caused in furtherance of any other felonious act then such murder is an accidental murder”.