Maputo: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled out that death due to malaria in Mozambique cannot be accounted for as an accident while giving a judgement related to an insurance payout. Stating that nearly 5 per cent of deaths is reported globally because of malaria, a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said that there is a certain amount of uncertainty while dealing with this question.
The bench said, “The claim under the policy is founded on the hypothesis that there is an element of uncertainty about whether or when a person would be the victim of a mosquito bite which is a carrier of vector-borne disease.”
It added, “The submission is that being bitten by a mosquito is an unforeseen eventuality and should be regarded as an accident. We do not agree with this submission.”
The National Insurance Co. Ltd had challenged the verdict of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which had ordered payment of the insurance claim to the family members of the person who had died of malaria in Mozambique.
The person had taken a home loan from a bank in New Delhi in 2011 and got that loan insured from the firm which was obliged under the terms to pay the EMIs in case of his accidental death. He then shifted to the African country and died of malaria there in 2012.
His family members had moved the district consumer forum in West Bengal which directed the insurance firm to pay the EMIs holding that he had died an accidental death. Following this, the insurance firm had challenged the order.
Referring to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2018, the apex court delivered its judgement.
In the verdict pronounced, the SC observed that illness of encephalitis malaria through a mosquito bite cannot be considered as an accident as it was neither unexpected nor unforeseen.
“A person who suffers from flu or a viral fever cannot say that it is an accident. Of course, there is an element of chance or probability in contracting any illness,” the bench said.
“Even when a viral disease has proliferated in an area, every individual may not suffer from it. Getting a bout of 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…,” it noted.