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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Non-delivery in Marine insurance parlance ~ cartridges missing in UP

Marine Cargo insurance covers goods whilst they are moved from one to place to another.  The coverage is governed by the clauses attached to the Policy and in India – it would be ‘Inland Transit (Rail/Road) clause’ when the transit is by road / rail and Institute Cargo Clauses [C/B/A] when moved by sea.  Besides the basic perils, there is ‘Theft, Pilferage and Non-delivery’ attached specifically to policies extending coverage. 

In legal parlance, Non-delivery, is failure to convey or transfer a legal instrument or goods as required by law or custom.  The coverage offered under Marine Policy is primarily one providing indemnity  when the consignment in its entirety is not delivered at destination by the Carrier to whom the goods were entrusted. There have been varied interpretations depending the nature and circumstances of non-delivery and Courts have held that where the goods are not delivered by the Carrier because the vessel was arrested would not be construed as non-delivery.  Also a mis-delivery where goods are delivered by the contracted Carrier to a wrong party on production of bill of lading is construed outside the purview of this coverage. 

The word **lost** has many meanings ~ unable to be found or recovered; confused; destroyed physically; no longer available; engrossed – are some of them.  In an interesting news reported in Times of India, an Ukranian got back his back a year after he lost it in a train.

Nearly a year after losing his bag on a crowded train, a Ukrainian national finally got it back on Tuesday with all the val uables intact. Praising the efforts of Railway Protec tion Force personnel in Kar war, Dimitri Koniev said “It's a miracle I got my bag back.“

On February 13, 2015,  RPF personnel found an unclaimed bag in coach B2 of Veraval-Thiruvananthapu ram Express. Railway cops informed the TTE onboard and sent the bag to Karwar RPF station. Valuables worth Rs 1 lakh, including a laptop, digital camera and lens, tripod, headphone, USB drive and a charger was found in the bag. Its owner, an Ukranian - Dimitri Koniev had also left Rs 15,000 in cash, two gold master cards, some Turkish currency and other documents in the bag. Since all the documents were Russian, cops found it tough to trace the passenger immediately . In May 2015, Vinod Kumar took charge as new RPF inspector of Karwar. He showed these documents to his friend Shajan, who had just returned from Russia. Shajan studied the records and found a phone number in it. He spoke to Dimitri Koniev and found out that he was the owner of the bag and he had lost it in Madgaon station. The railway police informed Dimitri that his bag was in safe custody and he can collect it after furnishing relevant documents.

In an unrelated incident reported in TOI, Jaikaran Singh, owner of the Balaji Gun House in Kanpur, placed an order for 2,000 cartridges with the Popular Gun House in Lucknow in August this year. Nothing was unusual or illegal about the deal. Both are licensed arms dealers, and such dealings are common practice.

Popular Gun House dispatched the cartridges through a private courier company on 8 August. Singh received the parcel on 10 August, but when he opened it, he found pebbles instead of cartridges. Jaikaran then checked with the owner of Popular Gun House, and was told that there was nothing wrong with the consignment. All the cartridges were said to have been packed in front of the executives of the courier company.  Then the consignee wrote letters to the offices of the district magistrates of Lucknow and Kanpur. But the officials who received the letters did not take any action.

The whole incident would've probably got swept under the carpet had it not been for the Additional District Magistrate of Kanpur, Avinash Singh, who suddenly came across Jaikaran's letter. Realising the gravity of the incident, the ADM immediately ordered an inquiry. "As many as 2,000 cartridges have gone missing and the matter is serious. That doesn't necessarily mean that the cartridges have been diverted to, say, terrorists or Maoists," said Avinash.  He said the investigators will check if the arms dealer in Lucknow had actually packed the cartridges, and if this was verified by the officials of the courier company. "If Popular Gun House had packed the cartridges and the receiver in Kanpur finds pebbles, then something must have gone wrong in transit," said the official. Administrative officials think that Jaikaran is also at fault. "No doubt he informed administrative officials. But he should have followed the matter if no action was being initiated," said Avinash, adding, "And of course, we will also find out why the officials who received his letter did not take any immediate action into the matter."

The Uttar Pradesh police have severely been jolted for several reasons. For one, the incident took place in August, and for four months, they didn't know about the missing cartridges. And this is a department that had claimed to spruce up security arrangements following the terror attacks in Paris. In addition, arms dealers in Lucknow and Kanpur have been under the scanner in the past for supplying weapons and ammunition to Maoists and dacoits. Inspector general of police, Kanpur, Ashutosh Pandey stated the matter to be grave. "The matter will be thoroughly investigated by the police department. All the 2,000 cartridges have to be accounted for. Not even a single cartridge can go missing."

In the last decade, the transactions of several arms dealers in Lucknow and Kanpur have been thoroughly probed by the police. The licences of arms dealers having alleged links to Maoists in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were cancelled.  Ironically, a few years ago, the UP police had busted a racket involving its own armoury department personnel, who were directly supplying cartridges to Maoists. .. !!

Totally unconnected to this  is the  ‘ Nondelivery report’ :  In the Internet's standard e-mail protocol SMTP, a bounce message, also called a Non-Delivery Report/Receipt (NDR), a (failed) Delivery Status Notification (DSN) message, a Non-Delivery Notification (NDN) or simply a bounce, is an automated electronic mail message from a mail system informing the sender of another message about a delivery problem. The original message is said to have bounced without deliverance to the recipient.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th Jan 2016

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