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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2 crore worth Gold bars stolen from bus: Negligence, Gross and Willful negligence

In Insurance parlance, you often hear ‘to act prudently and act as if uninsured’…………. It is primarily a duty of care – to act, to reasonably foresee and take precautions that one would take under normal circumstances ~ tough to define though !.  Today’s [27th Mar 2013] Chennai edition of Times of India carried an article titled ‘2 crore gold bars stolen from man on Madurai-Chennai bus’.

***Chennai: Around 7.5kg of gold bars worth more than 2 crore was stolen from a passenger travelling on a private bus from Madurai to Chennai on Monday night. In his complaint to the Koyambedu police, Champalal, employee of a jewellery shop on NSC Bose Road, said he had collected gold bars from a few shops in Madurai for making jewellery and boarded the bus. He found the gold missing on reaching the Koyambedu omnibus terminus on Tuesday morning. He informed his employer Dinesh Khatri before approaching police.

Police, during initial inquiries, found that a number of passengers had got off at Singaperumal Koil, while four, including Champalal, travelled to Koyambedu. The bus was empty when he woke up, the complainant told police. Investigators are questioning driver Pramod and conductor Venkatesh. In a similar incidentlast year, five kg of gold was stolen from a trader on a private bus from Madurai to Chennai. Police cracked the case with the arrest of four men from Mumbai who trailed the trader and carried out the heist when he dozed off en route the city.

In this case too, police said, the culprits may have kept an eye on Champalal and stolen the gold on the way. Police have not ruled out the hand of a person familiar with the travel plans of Champalal. Police said they were constantly issuing warnings to traders not  to travel alone with large amounts of gold as it was dangerous. ***

High value ~ 7.5 kgs of gold bars worth 2 crores ! ~ sitting duck – item that can be easily carried; of a very high value; no security; material has ready market; no identity – none can identify whether it was bought in any grey market…….and the person who carried fell asleep……. Whose fault ? sure one does not support theft but still !

In Property Insurance, there is a standard General exclusion : ‘loss, destruction, damage caused by or arising out of any willful act or willful negligence’.  Most of the terms are not defined and one has to go by the common meaning without any special interpretation.

Some thoughts on this :

Negligence :  Negligence is doing, or failing to do something that a reasonable person would, or would not, do in a certain situation and which causes another person damage, injury or loss as a result.  Negligence is a failure to use reasonable care that results in harm to another party. In one form, a person does something that a reasonable person would not do. In the other form a person fails to take action that a reasonable person would take to prevent harm.

Willful Negligence :  Intentional performance of an unreasonable act in disregard of a known risk, making it highly probable that harm will be caused. Willful negligence usually involves a conscious indifference to the consequences.

Gross Negligence:  Intentional failure to perform a manifest duty in reckless disregard of the consequences to another person’s life or property.

There appears no clear distinction between willful negligence and gross negligence. Somebody doing something fully conscious of its probable harm cannot term it an accident or fortuity.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Mar 2013.

1 comment:

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