The Supreme Court has observed that where a
disease is caused or transmitted by insect bite/virus in the natural course of
events, it would not be covered by the definition of an accident.
The observation comes in the background of a
case where the question arose whether a death due to malaria from a mosquito
bite in Mozambique, constituted a death due to accident and should be covered
under insurance policy.
A person had died after being diagnosed with
encephalitis malaria contracted from a mosquito bite he sustained while working
in Mozambique in 2012. When insurance was claimed, the National Insurance
Limited had argued that a mosquito bite cannot be classified as a ‘personal
accident’ covered under insurance policy and thus not eligible for the
insurance money. However, both the State and the National Consumer Dipsutes
Redressal Commissions dismissed the plea of National Insurance Limited.
However, the Supreme Court has dismissed the
decisions of both the Consumer Disputes Commissions. The Supreme Court has
observed that the illness of encephalitis malaria through a mosquito bite
cannot be considered as an accident. This is because malaria is a common issue
in Mozambique and it is neither unexpected nor unforeseen. According to WHO’s
World Malaria Report, there were an estimated ten million cases of malaria in
Mozambique and an estimated 14.7 thousand deaths in the year 2017.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission (NCDRC), is a quasi-judicial commission in which was set up in 1988
under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The commission is headed by a
sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. It provides for redressal
of consumer disputes