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Monday, December 28, 2009


Dear (s)

The Nobel Prize would not attract the headlines in newspapers and not much about Chemistry though it is one of the five prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1985 and awarded every year for outstanding contributions in Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Peace and Physiology or medicine.

The first Nobel Prize in Chemistry   -  was awarded in 1901 to Jacobus Henricus van't Hoff, of the Netherlands, "for his discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions. This year more about Nobel was read in this part of the World, primarily because Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was awarded this and Nobel laureate was born in Chidambaram / Tamilnadu / India in 1952. He is a structural biologist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England and received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome". Ribosomes are the components of cells that make proteins from amino acids. One of the central tenets of biology is that DNA makes RNA, which then makes protein.

We try to find strings and somehow attached to everything of fame and suddenly everyone started celebrating his success and tried to reach him in some manner. He has visited Chennai before and recently at University of Madras, he inaugurated the A.L. Mudaliar Centre for Basic Science Development and interacted with students. He started off telling that he cannot speak much in native language Tamil for he had left Chennai very early. It was reported that he had delivered lecture last year when the auditorium with capacity of 300 was more than half empty but this time it was jam packed. He claimed that he continued to the same person doing the same science and people are so impressed when some academy in Sweden confers an award.

When asked as to how students could aim to emulate him and “win a Nobel for India,” Dr. Ramakrishnan answered emphatically: “That is the wrong question to ask…You can’t go into science thinking of a Nobel Prize. You can only go into science because you’re interested in it.” As a Physics student who moved into the field of Biology, Dr. Ramakrishnan is wry about winning the prize for chemistry. “If I were to take an undergraduate chemistry exam, I would probably fail,” he said. “The ribosome does amazing chemistry, but I’m not a chemist…I’ve just learnt enough to work on my problem.”  He stated that the euphoria would die down in few months and sudden fame is a bad thing. His golden words were that when one becomes famous, people expect to have words of wisdom on subjects outside one’s expertise.

He declined to answer too many questions or offer advice on the Indian scientific education system, saying he simply didn’t know enough about it. He also refused the responsibility of being a role model for Tamil Nadu’s students simply because he lived here till the age of three. “It’s not about where you were born, or where you come from that makes you a good scientist. What you need are good teachers, co-students, facilities,” he said. “I honestly don’t think my roots have much to do with it. I’m sure this won’t make me popular, but this is what I think.”

But for his fame, all these words would certainly be construed as somebody having a bloated ego and somebody mocking at the society but this man certainly tries to be humble. This article from Dinamalar makes very interesting reading.

Ramkrishnan will be spending the rest of the year in Chennai after which he'll head back home. He also plans to make regular visits to the Margazhi music concerts along with his father.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


There is no better sight in cricket than a fast bowler steaming in before destroying a batsman's stumps or knocking him over with a bouncer.

The best of the pacers run in hard from a long run up and hurl the ball at high speed to induce it bounce off the pitch in a menacing manner creating fear in the minds of the batsmen.   The sight of batsmen weakened by a bouncer whizzing past close to his ear and then beaten by pace or the stumps going for a walk in the air are indeed a treat to the eyes.

(the fearsome foursome - Andy, Michael, Colin & Joel)

To name some of the best whom I have seen or heard of - Dennis Lillee, Jeoff Thompson, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Mike Holding, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Alan Donald – this by no  means is a complete list nor the best ever complied. They are passionate, ruthless when it comes to snaring and display then anger quite often.

Holding - smooth run up and angry retort

Thommo was for long considered the fastest clocking 99.7 mph. Holding was known as ‘Whispering Death’ and Rollsroyce for the nice smooth run up and clean action. However, there are reports of Mohammed Sami and Shoaib Akhtar clocking more than 161 kmph i.e., crossing the 100 mph barrier.

Dennis the menace

Lasith Malinga - the slinger

This post is all about the sad end of a promising pace bowler who threatened to over run all others but had his own career decimated by injury and somewhat in joining the rebel ICL. He is only 34 has a strike rate of 38.7 ; average of 22.09 and has taken 5 wickets in an innings 5 times and ten in a test once. Shane Bond considered as one the best black caps only played 18 tests in a career spanning 7 years – took 87 wickets at an average of 22, with best haul of 6/51.

His desire was severely tested in 2004 when he underwent a back operation – grafting of hip bone into the vertebra, secured with bolts and wires. It took three weeks before he was able to touch his toes, seven before he could walk for 10 minutes and surgeons told him that pace bowling would become a thing of the past. The future looked glum but he began to walk, went swimming, and changed his fitness training. He slogged through four sessions a day: ten overs of bowling in the morning, followed by an hour of weights. Then a half-hour of rest before a 40-minute run. He ended the day with a session of boxing training.  

With mental toughness, he came back strongly and in a test in Auckland, had Lara out cutting to point and in the second his first ball had Lara’s leg up rooted of the hole. His stint with ICL playing for Delhi Giants kept him out of national duty – this Nov however he earned a recall snared eight Paki wickets at Dunedin but also picked up an abdominal injury, which steered him to decide to call it a day.

When he burst into the arena in 2001 against Aussies he was amongst the quickest pacers – was the quickest Kiwi to reach 50 ODI wickets including 6/22 in the WC 2003 against Aussie. Went on to become the fastest Kiwi to get 50 in tests – sore back surfaced in 2006 and frequent injuries kept disrupting his smooth career. The Kiwi Board reacted wildly in 2008 and terminated his national contract when he signed ICL.

When India toured Kiwiland just prior to WC 2003, in conditions favourable to seam bowling, Bond sliced through the famed Indian line up getting Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar making a memorable win at Wellington test. Statistics would never reveal his true stature. In the 18 he played, Kiwi won ten (though 4 were against Bangla and Zimbabwe). During his career span, they played 49 without him and managed win another 10. Kiwis strike rate was 20 balls better when Bond spearheaded their line up. He won MOM four times and got one in his farewell match also.

He has 138 wickets in 77 One dayers and 17 in 13 T 20s – which he hopes to continue. But the cricketing world would be missing him – more so his own country which would suffer without such quality pacer spearheading their attack albeit not so regularly.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Death due to ‘Drowning’ – Apex Court on Workmen Compensation..

Dear (s)

I had shared this earlier with my friends through e mail during Feb 2009. Here it is placed on web for the benefit of all (Knowledge sharing) and inviting views of experts for a healthy debate.

In any industry or project there are large nos. of workers and Law requires that they should be protected. This Workmen’s Compensation Act 1923, intended to be an beneficial legislation extends to whole of India. It defines workmen to be any person ther than a person whose  employment is of a casual nature and who is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer’s trade or business.

An accident means a mishap or any untoward incident or event. The injury to the workman may be accidental even when it is deliberate design and attempt by a third party. The employer is liable to pay compensation to a workman for personal injury caused by accident arising out of and in the course of employment and for the occupational diseases. The employer is liable to pay compensation in accordance with the provisions of the Act, towards personal injury caused to a workman by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. There are also some exclusions asprovided in the Statute itself.

Many Insurance Companies (Both PSU & Private) have Policy providing cover to the Insured against all sums for which the insured would be liable to pay his employees under WC Act 1923, Fatal Accidents Act 1855 and Common Law. Besides the Motor Vehicle Policy also cover the WC liability for driver, cleaner and other workmen engaged. The compensation package is dependant on – the age of the worker, nature of injury : temporary / permanent disablement or death. The liability is primarily in respect of mishaps arising “arising out of and in the course of his employment”. Invariably, at the time of the accident, the workmen must be on the site and there should be casual connection between the cause and the employment. In common understanding the course of employment would only refer to the time during which employment continues i.e., the work at the factory doing the work for which he is engaged for.

There is something more – a concept of notional extention of employment premises – very liberal interpretations at that borne out of notions of doing justice to the weaker sections of society. Sometimes it is contended that this extends from the time the labourer leaves home and till he returns home after completion of work. But this is not the definition and there would be various other aspects to bring this to the fore.

Recently there was a landmark judgment which is noteworthy for the Insurers – though this was under Motor Vehicles Act, this is very much pertinent under WC Act as well. Here are some facts of the impugned case :

The cause of action arose due to the death of a driver of a truck who left for a temple alongwith certain passengers as per directions of the owner of the truck. Upon reaching the pilgrimage centre, the deceased went to a pond and while taking bath slipped, fell down ,drowned and breathed his last. The wife of the deceased filed petition taking plea that the death had occurred during the course of and within the employment. The vehicle was the subject matter of insurance with the Insurer and it was claimed that Insurer was liable to pay compensation as the risk of the driver was covered under the Motor policy.

The WC commissioner allowed the petition and determined compensation of Rs.2,20,046/- with 12 % interest. It was held that the Insurer was liable to pay the compensation. The Insurer filed an appeal before the High Court, stating there was no connection between the accident causing death of the workman and the vehicle and, therefore, neither the insurer nor the insured had any liability to pay any compensation. The High Court allowed the appeal filed by the insurer holding that there was no casual connection and therefore the insurance company was not liable. Further, the High Court granted the liberty to recover the compensation awarded from the appellant.

The High Court accepted that the driver did not die as a result of an accident involving the vehicle. But the vehicle was taken by the deceased in the course of employment at the behest of the owner to the temple. The ultimate question according to the High Court was when the driver was taking a bath at the pond and gone there, the death had occurred out of an accident arisen out of and in the course of his employment. The High Court noted that there was no casual connection between the accident causing the death and the vehicle. The High Court also noted that since there was no such casual connection,  the insurer would not be liable in terms of the policy as the vehicle which was the subject matter of insurance was not involved in the accident and the insurer had no liability.

The owner filed appeal in the Supreme Court contending that the decision of High Court is clearly erroneous and that the High Court should not have directed claimant to recover the amount from the owner of the vehicle. The Counsel submitted that it has no liability in view of what is stated in Sec 147 (1)(b) (i) of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The Supreme Court observed that under Section 3(1) it has to be established that there was some casual connection between the death of the workman and his employment. If the workman dies a natural death because of the disease which he was suffering no liability would be fixed upon.

Citing various cases, the court observed "Nothing could be simpler than the words `arising out of and in the course of the employment'. It is clear that there are two conditions to be fulfilled. What arises `in the course' of the employment is to be distinguished from what arises `out of the employment'. The former words relate to time conditioned by reference to the man's service, the latter to causality. Not every accident which occurs to a man during the time when he is on his employment--that is, directly or indirectly engaged on what he is employed to do--gives a claim to compensation, unless it also arises out of the employment. Hence the section imports a distinction which it does not define” To come within the Act the injury by accident must arise both out of and in the course of employment. The words `in the course of the employment' mean `in the course of the work which the workman is employed to do and which is incidental to it'. To put it differently if the accident had occurred on account of a risk which is an incident of the employment, the claim for compensation must succeed, unless of course the workman has exposed himself to an added peril by his own imprudent act."

The Court pronounced that in the specific case in view of the legal principles delineated there were no sufficient grounds to fasten liability on either the insurer or the insured. The High Court was not justified in holding that the truck owner liable to pay compensation. The appeal was allowed with no order as to costs.

As the saying goes, there are lessons to be learnt everywhere and this Judgment could impact the Insurers in more cases.

With regards
S. Sampathkumar


Dear (s)

Well sometime back the unveiling of statues took centre page at far off places – the one at Bangalore attracted more space in Chennai space and the one at Chennai was widely reported in Kannadiga newspapers – those were the statues of Thiruvalluvar at Bangalore and Sarvagnar at Chennai in Aug 2009 (Read my previous posting in the blog)

The culture of statues has a long history and is not new to Tamilnade alone though there have been many clashes arising out of issues involving statues. Originally, statues were installed to propagate the memory of great leaders, poets and visionaries of the Society and even in a place where rationalists question religion, there arose very many statues to leaders of importance. It was to instill in upcoming generations some knowledge and recalling of the glorious acts of the erstwhile leaders. It is unfortunate that instead of learning, sometimes they become the reason for public disturbance.

Yes Not all of them. The Thiruvalluvar status standing 133 ft tall (40.5m) at Kanyakumari is a magnificent edifice – situate at a place where two seas and an Ocean meet.

The statue has a height of 95 ft and stands upon 38 ft pedestal representing the 38 chapters of virtue in Thirukural. The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 ft denoting 133 chapters in the Thirukural. Thirukural is a classic of couplets containing 1330 verses widely translated in to many languages – the Latin translation being made by Constanzo Beschi way back in 1730 making it known to European intellectuals, the richness and beauty of this oriental literature. I have been a great fan of Thiruvalluvar and here is one which asserts the strength of virtue.

Internationally, the statue of liberty is a great edifice. This officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World dedicated on October 28, 1886, is a monument commemorating the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, given to the United States by the people of France to represent the friendship between the two countries established during the American Revolution. Standing on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship.

If you are a Chennaite, you are accustomed to statues of political leaders and other noblemen dotting the beaches of Marina.  

The great poetess Avvaiyar

Mahakavi Barathiyar

the triumph of labour

the monroe statue near island grounds
the one celebrating the stoppage of horse race !
What pristine beauty or prestige, a statue would add is better seen on Marina beach where apart from Triumph of Labour and Mahatma Gandhi, there are various other statues including the ones of Swami Vivekanand, Kannagi, Kambar, Ilango, Bharathiyar, Avvaiyar, Robert Caldwell, Constanzo Beschi, Anni Besant to the cine Sivaji. Whether they add lusture and sense of pride is a moot point.

Now comes the news of removal of two statues which existence itself perhaps went unnoticed thus far. They were stark reminders of colonial era – those of King Edward VII and King George V – on either side of the upcoming Assembly complex in the Govt. Estate. They stand removed by the Highways Department for widening Annasalai and Kamaraj Salai (Mount Road and Beach Road !) these purportedly would be shifted to Govt. museum at Egmore where one can have glimpse.

Curiously, these two statues were gifts to the Province by wealthy business prior to independence. Edward VII was the eldest son of Queen Victoria lived between 1841 and 1910 and was King of UK from Jan 1901 till death. It is reported that he usually smoked 20 cigarettes and 12 cigars a day. His statue was reportedly unveiled by Governor of Madras in 1903 commemorating his coronation. This stood in front of the northern gate of Govt Estate. George V ascended the throne in 1910 and was the Emperor of India through WW 1, died in 1936. He attended Delhi Durbar appearing before the subjects crowned with the Imperial crown of India. There is another statue of his lying beside the Flower Bazaar Police station.

Sometime back when the Govt. decided to install a statue to cine actor Sivaji Ganesan and when there were some court cases, heavy armed police security was posted guarding the statue. These removals most surely would not even attract public attention, leave alone any body thinking of whining.

Though not welcome, most of the statues get glory only on their days of birth / death and generally get bathed in smoke polluted by vehicles and remaining ugly with bird droppings.

With regards – S Sampathkumar


Dear (s)

This message was circulated to my Friends on 30th July 2009..  posted on my blog now and intend posting another post as a follow up of this......... do read and post your feedback..


There are countries sharing their resources happily and there are States embroiled in controversies. Most riparian states have had difficulty. For Tamilnadu and Karnataka, river Kaveri has been the bone of contention of serious conflict on sharing of the waters. If that is necessitated by the need for water in delta, there is another broiling over statue. If you are a Chennaite, you are accustomed to statues of political leaders and other noblemen dotting the beaches of Marina. What pristine beauty or prestige, a statue would add is better seen on Marina beach where apart from Triumph of Labour and Mahatma Gandhi, there are various other statues including the ones of Kannagi, Kambar, Ilango, Bharathiyar, Avvaiyar, Robert Caldwell, Constanzo Beschi, Anni Besant to the cine Sivaji. Whether they add lusture and sense of pride is a moot point.

Come 9th Aug 2009, a bronze statue of Tamil saint Poet Thiruvalluvar is to be unveiled at Bangalore and on Aug 13, that of Kannada Poet Sarvagnar will be unveiled at Ayyanavaram, in Chennai.

Many would be startled to know that unveiling of a statue at Bangalore has been simmering and potentially threatening relations from 1991 atleast and was infact one of the demands of Brigand Veerappan for release of matinee idol Rajkumar. This photo tells it all.

Inside the cover, lies Thiruvalluvar Waiting to be unveiled for many years and police men guarding the statue – what a colossal waste of money and resources !!.

The CM of Karnataka BS Yeddyurappa took a commendable move forward by announcing that the statue would be unveiled at Ulsoor soon by the CM of Tamilnadu. Though such announcements have been made by earlier Chief Ministers also in vain, this looks prospective especially with the news that Karnataka Officials have found a suitable spot in Ayyanavaram, in Chennai to erect the statue of Kannada poet Sarvagna. Some pro- kannada organizations have given a call to observe Bangalore bandh on Aug 9th to protest the unveiling of the statue. One of them says that there is no need for statue of Sarvagna in tamilnadu apprehending damages or disrespect, if issues like Cauvery emerge.

For the not so informed : Sarvajna (Sarvagna) was a famous poet in kannada known for his pithy three-lined poems called tripadis. The period of Sarvajña's life has not been determined accurately, and very little is known about him. Based on studies of his literary style and the references of later writers, historians estimate that he may have lived during the first half of the 16th century. Some references in his works indicate that his real name was Pupadata - Sarvajña appears to have been his pseudonym. In all, about 2000 three-liners are attributed to Sarvajna. It is possible that some of these were written by later authors.

Popular because of their alliterative structure and simplicity, they deal mainly with social, ethical and religious issues. A number of riddles are also attributed to Sarvajna. Here is some from his literature to feast :
** What use is giving advice to a fool a hundred times? It is like raining on a rock for hundred years. Will it ever soak in?
** A service without flowers, the king without a horse and friendship with one who does not know the language (one who cannot carry an intelligent conversation) are a waste.

Thiruvalluvar is a celebrated Tamil poet whose work Thirukkural is held very high on ethics in Tamil literature.

His period is widely held to be between the second century BC and the eighth century AD. Thirukkural is considered as 'World common faith', as it shows the way for human morals and betterment in life. The Kural has been translated into most languages, likely next only to the Bible and the Quran. Thirukkural is a classic of couplets (kurals) numbering 1330 organised into 133 chapters.

Here is something to feast from thirukkural :
** What is truthfulness? It is nothing but utterance Wholly devoid of ill.
** Those gifted with the faculty of contentment Never have that shady skill called fraud.
** Men of good conduct cannot speak ill Even by a slip of tongue.

It is obvious that not much is learnt from the works of either of the great Poets and there certainly are more important issues afflicting common man. But ……………… such issues have surfaced time and again

With regards - S Sampathkumar.

Monday, December 21, 2009

CARRIAGE BY ROAD ACT 2007 - When will it see the 'light' ?

The movement of goods is an important and integral part of the economic development of the country and is of great relevance to transport industry as also Insurers. For long remained Carriers Act 1865 – the statute governing the rights and liabilities of common carrier. Very many years have rolled by since and from pure carriers, market came to dominated by middlemen in various avatars called freight brokers, agents and so on. The Act held the liability of common carrier at Rs.100/- which was utopian.

After decades, Carriage by Road Bill was introduced in the Parliament which inter-alia prescribed : mandatory registration of common carrier, liability of carrier to have regard to value, freight and nature of goods, consignors having to execute Goods forwarding note, single registration for a common carrier, common carrier liable for overloading inviting penalty under Sec 194 of MV Act, force majeure clause exonerating the carrier from liabilities etc.,

The present Act clearly defines ‘common carrier; as a person other than the Govt., engaged in the business of collecting, storing, forwarding or distributing goods to be carried by goods carriages under a goods receipt from place to place by motorized transport on road, for all persons without any discrimination and includes goods booking company, contractor, agent, broker and courier agency engaged in door to door transportation of documents, goods or articles utilizing the services of a person, either directly or indirectly to carry or accompany such documents, goods or articles but does not include the Govt - a far flung activity definition than what was contemplated in the earlier Act.

This Act called ‘The Carriage by Road Act 2007” received Presidential assent on 29th Sept 2007 and was enacted by Parliament in the Fifty eigth year of the Republic of India. The Act extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu & Kashmir and came into force from the date of notification in Official Gazette which was done on 1.10.2007.

Subsequent to this, ‘The Carriage by Road Act 2007” came into being and repealed the time tested ‘Carriers Act 1865’.

But……………….- it not all over and working at this stage due to administrative reasons (!) After the notification, the Ministry of Transport and Highways initiated the process of framing rules under the Act and a working group under the chairmanship of Shri S.K. Dash, Joint Secretary (Transport) has been constituted to suggest draft Carriage by Road Rules 2007.

Though Insurers are not a party to the contract of carriage, they step in as security providers to goods under inland transit insurance policies. The modifications do affect the Insurers at large and GIC had also filed their suggestions in consultation with all Insurers. Their primary concern is that the contract should not in any way limit the liability of the carrier which will affect the recovery, even where caused by the negligence or mistake of the carriers. The wafer thin margin at which the Insurance Companies are operating presently would be affected in a large manner.

The proposition of limitation of common carrier to Rs.10000/- or the value mentioned in the consignment ntoe whichever is less, unless higher risk rate fixed by common carrier under Sec 11 is invoked is prejudicial to the interests of the Insurer. Already there are many instances of consignor blindly acceding to the conditions imposed by the carriers including absolving them of all their liabilities.

Alas, more than two years after the Presidential assent of the Statute, the rules under the Act are yet to be finalized. A recent meeting of transporters, representatives of Road transport, Finance and Law Ministires and research body IFTRT turned acrimonious as there was strong objection to deregistration of transporters as a penalty for repeated offences. The bone of contention was the liability of common carriers for goods lost in their custody and the conditions for deregistration, especially when the term carrier encompasses all intermediaries that handle goods.

Thus the Act which was framed with aim to bring in reforms in the not so organized commercial road transport sector is yet to be implemented. All concerned will have to wait with concerns for the formulation of rules and their implementation, which have a long and bumpy road ahead.

Interestingly there still exists a statute ‘Hackney-Carriage Act 1879’ which is an act for the regulation and control of hackney carriages. Dictionary has it that hack is a horse for riding or driving / a horse or pony kept for hire. Hackney carriage also includes automobile for hire. There is also a derivation that it is from village Hackney, now part of London. The Act interprets the clause to mean any wheeled vehicle drawn by animals and used for conveyance of passengers

With regards - S. Sampathkumar.


Today there is an article in ‘Times of India’ about the sole surviving member of the playing 11 which won India its First Test win – CD Gopinath who incidentally took the catch to get the last wicket.

This was way back in Feb 10,1952 - Gopinath is a resident of Chennai. Coimbatarao Doraikannu Gopinath born in 1930 played 8 Tests for India totalling 242 runs with highest of a 50 not out. AT Madras Cricket club Ground, Chepauk in Test no. 348 – India won by an innings and 8 runs.

This was the 11 which played and defeated England : Vijay Hazare (captain), S. Mushtaq Ali, Pankaj Roy, Vinoo Mankad, Lala Amarnath, Dattu Phadkar, Polly Umrigar, C.D. Gopinath, R.V. Divecha, Probir Sen and Ghulam Ahmed.

This historic win was in emphatic style – the hero being Vinoo Mankad who bowled superbly ending with 12 wickets with 8/55 in the first innings. Many of the present followers might not know that Test matches were played with a rest day, usually the fourth day. But on that match the death of King George VI changed the pattern and the second day was made the rest day. England were all out for 266 and India declared at 457 for 9 with Pankaj Roy & Poly Umrigar scoring a tons; Gopinath made 35. In their second essay, England made 183 with Vinoo and Gulam Ahmad sharing the spoils with 4 apiece. The umpires were BJ Mohoni and MG Vijayasarathi.

The journey started there and recently 100 test wins were achieved following climb to the top of Test cricket

Regards – Sampathkumar S

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Dear (s)

My comments on the landmark Apex court verdict was circulated to my friends group during June 2009.  Here it is placed on my blog for sharing my knowledge and for inviting views of Experts.

Insurance Companies for ages have fairly established procedure. The items insured and claimed for, are varied and will include Automobiles, Buildings, machinery, stocks of various commodities and the like. Whenever a loss is reported, a Loss adjuster (Surveyor as he is popularly known in India) is deputed who assesses the loss and issues Report known as Survey Report which forms the basis of consideration or otherwise of the claim. Surveyors are independent professionals who assess the loss or damage and serve as a link between the insurer and the insured. They play a very crucial role between the insured and the Insurer. In India, the surveyors are licensed and procedurally regulated by IRDA. The surveyors have to satisfy the requirements of Sec 64UM of Insurance Rules 1939 read with section 42D of the Act and rule 56A. In general they are to posses technical qualifications as specified by the Authority, undergo practical training, apply and hold the licence.

The Insurance Regulatory Authority IRDA formulated Insurance Surveyors & Loss Assessors (Licencing, Professional Requirements and Code of Conduct) Regulations, 2000) which regulate the licensing and the work of surveyors. These regulations stipulate that the surveyor shall investigate, manage, quantify, validate and deal with losses arising from any contingency and carry out the work with competence, objectivity and professional integrity by strictly adhering to the code of conduct expected of them. Some of the duties and responsibilities of them are :

v      Declaring whether he has any interest in the subject matter in question and whether the loss pertains to any of his relatives, business partners or through material shareholding.
v      Maintaining confidentiality and neutrality without jeopardising the liability of the insurer and claim of the insured;
v      conducting inspection and reinspection of the property in question suffering a loss;
v      examining, inquiring, investigating, verifying and checking upon the causes and the circumstances of the loss in question including extent of loss, nature of ownership and insurable interest;
v      estimating, measuring and determining the quantum and description of the subject under loss;
v      commenting on the admissibility of the loss as also observance of warranty conditions under the policy contract;
v      assessing liability under the Policy, recommending applicability of depreciation, commenting on salvage and its disposal etc.,

Surveyors are required to submit their report as expeditiously as possible, but not later than 30 days of their appointment.

In a recent ruling, the Apex Court held that the compensation fixed by the Surveyor deputed is not binding on the Claimants or the Insurance Companies. Quite often Courts have interpreted the Policy and its conditions in favour of the complainants and some times pass strictures also. In a path breaking judgment recently , the Apex Court chided the Insurers for spending public money unnecessarily. This assumes significance as in most cases the compensation as spelt out in the Survey Report forms the basis of the settlement made by the Insurers.

Here is something from the pronouncement by the Supreme Court of India in Civil Appeal no. 3253 of 2002 .

The facts of the case are that by special leave, New India challenged the order passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dismissing the revision petition filed against the earlier order. The District Forum, Uttarkashi had directed the Insurers to pay a sum of Rs.158409/- along with interest at the rate of 12% per annum to the respondent Pradeep Kumar in a claim for damages to the Open body truck insured with New India. The truck loaded with potatoes met with an accident in Sept 1998 and had fallen down into khud 300 ft below the road. The Insured had filed the petition before the Forum citing deficiency in service by the Insurers.

The Insurers had the vehicle surveyed by Manoj Kumar ( spot survey) and upon submission of repair estimates by Vivek Arora. Not satisfied with the report of Vivek Arora, the vehicle was surveyed again by another approved surveyor B.B. Garg who estimated the damages at Rs.63,771/- . The claim was accordingly approved but the Insured refused to accept this amount and took to Forum. The District Forum held that there was deficiency in service and ordered them to pay Rs.158409/ along with interest at the rate of 12% p.a. with cost of Rs.1000/- The Insurers appealed without avail in the State Commission. The concurrent order was challenged in National Commission where also they failed. In the Apex court, the Counsel for Insurers heavily relied upon Sec 64 UM (2) of the Insurance Act 1938 that the loss assessed by the approved surveyors appointed in view of the provisions of Section 64-UM was binding, more so, in the absence of any evidence on record to establish that the loss assessed by the approved surveyors was not correct and justified. There were other grounds such as repairs conducted prior to approval and that Insurers are not liable to indemnity for new parts.

The impugned section reads that “ No claim in respect of a loss which has occurred in India and requiring to be paid or settled in India equal to or exceeding twenty thousand rupees in value on any policy of insurance, arising or intimated to an insurer at any time after the expiry of a period of one year from the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1968, shall, unless otherwise directed by the Authority, be admitted for payment or settled by the insurer unless he has obtained a report on the loss that has occurred, from a person who holds a license issued under this section to act as a surveyor.

The Act further states “ Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to take away or abridge the right of the insurer to pay or settle any claim at any amount different from the amount assessed by the approved surveyor or loss assessor.  The accident itself was not disputed and vehicle had indeed suffered damages. The surveyors had affirmed that the damages were in conformity with the description of the accident mentioned in the claim form. The spot survey report was not filed and some strong remarks were made on this. As against estimate of Rs.166580/-, Vivek Arora assessed the loss at Rs.59304/- and the assessment of BB Garg was marginally more.

The Court observed that the object of the proviso is that the claim in respect of loss required to be paid by the insurer is Rs.20,000/- or more, the loss must first be assessed by an approved surveyor ( or loss assessor) before it is admitted for payment or settlement by the insurer. However, the Insurer may settle the claim at any amount or pay the insured any amount different from the amount assessed by the approved surveyor. In other words although the assessment of loss by the approved surveyor is a pre-requisite for payment or settlement of claim of twenty thousand rupees or more by insurer, but surveyor-s report is not the last and final word. It is not that sacrosanct that it cannot be departed from; it is not conclusive. The approved surveyor’s report may be basis or foundation for settlement of a claim by the insurer in respect of the loss suffered by the insured but surely such report is neither binding upon the insurer nor insured.

The Court concluded that the claim of the complainant had been accepted by the Consumer Fora as duly supported by original vouchers, bills and receipts. Taking into consideration such expenses as also the interest the complainant had to pay to the bank from which the loan was obtained, the Dist forum awarded Rs.158409/- alongwith interest. The Court observed that the Insurers had not objected to the interest paid by the complainant to the bank being awarded and had not raised this issue before the National Commission.

The Apex Court upheld the earlier decision of the Commission and stated that the present appeal was devoid of any substance and went on record that Insurance Company would have been well advised in not spending public money on avoidable and wholly frivolous litigation.

Stating thus Honble Judges DK Jain & RM Lodha dismissed the appeal. As has been there are lessons to be learnt and this judgment has thrown open some new perspectives, especially for the Insurers. Look forward to your feedback…..

With regards - S Sampathkumar

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The charm of Test cricket is it offers place for characters – Jamaican Christopher Henry Gayle, 30 years of age is an enigma. Perhaps one of the most dreaded batsmen whom bowlers dread to bowl to.

At the start of the month, in the second test at Adelaide he was battling with a not so strong batting line up where he had to shoulder all the burden. Facing down the barrel, he stood for over 411 sweat soaked, energy sapping minutes remained unbeaten on 155 on a testing wicket exhibiting triumph of patience which was not considered his virtue. Remember, he till date is the only batsman with a century in T20.

Carrying bat on Australian soil is indeed enviable. Of date, there are 45 occasions of bat carried through happening in Tests – Sunil Gavaskar has achieved this thrice and Sehwag once at Galle. The latest was by Imran Farhat with 117 against Kiwis at Napier becoming the fourth Paki. Gayle just preceded him.

Before you could complete reading this, hurricane blew at Perth. Gayle once said he fancied himself as Hauritz bowling – on the ground struck a six that took into 90s – reportedly one the biggest ever seen in WACA. The pitch here is regarded as one of the quickest and bounciest in the world and many a times teams have got knocked voer by brutal pace aided by the Fremantle Doctor which aids swing. Gayle thundered to a 70 ball hundred that is the fifth fastest century in terms of balls faced in Test history.

The Lillee – Marsh stand has 5 tiers and Gayle cleared the top of them all and landed the ball on the roof skyrocketing defying Newton.

King Viv tops the fastest centurios with his 56 ball effort against England; followed by Adam Gilchrist’s 57 ball. Three of the six fastest hundreds in Tests have been at Perth which by no means is smaller than any other ground.
Way back in 1975-76 series which was fought hot Roy Fredericks hammered a ton of 71. This series was won 5-1 by Aussies perhaps a retaliation of their WC Final loss to Windies. Fredericks toured India under Clive Lloyd but did not make much.

Of the fastest centurions, another cavalier was Majid Jahangir Khan who started off as a pace bowler but slammed England hard. He played against India in 1978 when India toured under Bishan Bedi and played his last match at Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore in Jan 1983; this time failing to trouble the scorers – caught behind of Kapil who had magnificent innings haul of 8 for 85 in 30.5

Regards - Sampathkumar. S

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Dear (s)

Vijay Divas is commemorated every 16th December in India as it marks the third decisive military victory over Arch-rival Pakistan achieved on 16th December 1971. On that day in 1971, the Indian Army won war against Pakistan and a liberated Bangladesh emerged.

This year 2009 marks the 38th anniversary of Vijay Divas that was observed across India by paying rich tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation. Most important celebration is held in nation's capital New Delhi where Defense Minister and head of all three wings of the armed forces pays homage at Amar Javan Jyoti at India Gate.

This is not to be confused with “Kargil Vijay Diwas” named after the success of Operation Vijay – which on - 26th of July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26th of July.

News reports have it that around 300 serving and retired officers gathered at the National War Memorial, Ghorpadi on Wednesday and laid wreaths to honour the martyrs on the occasion of Vijay Diwas on Wednesday. This is the first Vijay Diwas Celebration where memorabilia of all the three services were represented – at the premises of the war memorial was the main battle tank that destroyed many Pakistani tanks in the Indo-Pak war of 1971, replica of INS Trishul, the frigate commissioned in 1960 that too served in the Indo-Pak war and a Mig 23 Bn aircraft.

The Nation remembered the Gallant soldiers of the 1971 Indo-Pak war as also India's historic victory over Pakistan. "It is essential that we salute our heroes. We feel secure in our homes because of our armed forces and this is an occasion to remember their courage and sacrifice.

Desa patrudan – Sampathkumar. S

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ODI 2932 at Rajkot ~ the hard path that India traversed along in Oneday Cricket

Dear Cricket lovers,

All newspapers are screaming about the win at Rajkot in ODI 2932 which saw 824 runs being scored in 100 overs of high octane indiscriminate harassment the bowlers had, culminating in a nail biting last ball finish at Madhavrao Scindia stadium. The details of the Indian win, scintillating Sehwag and brilliant Dilshan are available everywhere and this article has almost nothing about it.

The city of Rajkot in Gujarat is located on the banks of Aji river and Niari river. Rajkot was the capital of Saurashtra State from 1948, then merged into Bombay State in 1956, again merged into Gujarat State on 1st May 1960. This stadium earlier known as Municipal Ground / Race course ground is sort of happy hunting ground though statistically, we have won 6 out of 11 matches involving the home team. Yesterdays numbers were mind boggling and records went tumbling. India piled up massive 414 for 7. In olden days, a score of 250+ was considered match winning and most teams would have given up their chase but not today.

The total of 414 is the highest for India but only the fifth highest, the first being 443/9 made by Lankans against Netherlands at Amstelveen; there are 8 scores of above 400 and Indians have registered it twice. Despite bowling well, Zaheer still ended up becoming the top in runs conceded by any Indian bowler giving one more than what Javagal had given in 2003 WC final and way above Karsan Ghavri in 1975 WC. Team India breached the 300 mark first in 1996 at Sharjah against Pakistan and have done it 56 times now including the two 400+; infact they have amassed more than 300 – 8 times in year 2009 itself.

In earlier days, there were no batting powerplays and teams generally crawled through their allotted overs even in Prudential World cups which were 60 overs formats. Some of you may not know that matches in England were 55 over affairs earlier – these tall scores were not to be seen even in those days. Even the slog overs were not so heard of.

The balance from ball to bat shifted when cricket was played at neutral venue – specifically the desert of Sharjah. Uptil then the fearsome West Indian were only played in back foot. Remember one match at Sharjah when Chikka hooked Marshall for a six and then square drove him for a four next delivery – expectations ran very high, we were charged, ordering everyone inside the room not to shift even a bit – air of tension, wily Malcolm charged in head down like a matador – middle and off went for a walk beating Jeff Dujon restoring the pride. That year also saw Imran smacking Joel Garner for 22 runs including 3 sixes in a single over. Probably that day initiated the downfall of Windies, domination of bat over ball and cricket was never the same thereafter.

Now a days every batsman throws his bat and we see tall scores. During the middle phase we had the fielding restrictions in first 15 overs ; in the 1996 overs Lankans redefined the handling of this first 15, with Sanath and little Kallu drawing blood out of all bowlers and turning two fast bowlers (Defreitas and Majoj Prabhakars) into bowling spin at the end of their overs and ending their careers.

For the regular followers of One dayers from its advent in 1971 and from the Indians first match in 1974, the way the game is played has undergone paradigm shifts. When we have so high scoring encounters and when 400 is not good enough, here is something of a match which those over 40 years of age who would like to forget but would remain haunting their memories.
The first WC was sponsored by Prudential Assurance and in the opening game on June 7, 1975, England the hosts played India at the mecca of cricket – the Lords. The format was that of two groups of four countries each and even a defeat theoretically, the team could progress to the semis. India were in the group consisting of England, Newzealand and East Africa (which later became Zimbabwe)

It was sort of ideal settings, a lung opener of a prestigious Tournament, that too inaugural one – great ground of Lords at London, glorious sunshine in a summer – packed grounds by their standards – for a second forget Eden Gardens or Chepauk milling crowds.

Indians were not accustomed to playing one days and were captained by the famous offie Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan – though was not popular choice amongst the players. England battled and piled up 334 losing 4 in 60 overs, the highest at that time. Dennis Amiss led with 137. Karsan Ghavri conceded 83 in his 11. Then came the Indian challenge or factually the lack of it. Sunil Manohar Gavaskar widely admitted for his technique against fast bowling and he played them admirably without helmet for most days, opened alongside Eknath Solkar. Indians lost Solkar,Gaekwad and Vishie and finished at 132/3 in 60 overs. Sunny carried his bat through scoring a snail-like 36 of 174 balls with a solitary hit to the fence. It was reported that there were incidents of crowd running into the ground requesting Gava to come out even. Till date this strategy remains a blot in his otherwise brilliant career. Frustration was writ large on Indian fans and the dejected fans could hardly fathom out the plan, it at all there was one. It was indeed a perverse moment of self inflicted shame, India lost by 202 runs.

Rumours abounded, the most popular being that Gavaskar was unhappy with the team selection, especially the decision to ditch the team's reliance on spinners as also with the captaincy issue. Late in his career, he once revealed that he had actually been caught behind off the second ball of the innings……… but nobody appealed. The same WC also saw a belligerent century of 85 balls by Clive Lloyds ensuring their win over the mighty Aussies. By and large those were not very happy days for Indian cricket lovers as a solitary win would come once in a while.

Things are far different now a days !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With regards – S Sampathkumar