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Friday, February 25, 2022

How to name it ? - Kyiv and not Kiev ?!?

What is in a name … a rose by any other name would smell as sweet -  the names of things do not matter, only what things are  !! ~ but perceptions do matter.

Today news is filled about war – invasion of Ukraine by Russia, whether NATO or USA would react and the stock market tumbling.  War with Russia has loomed over Ukraine for more than eight years – from crippling cyber attacks to the seizure of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and the long-running conflict in the east that has claimed more than 14,000 lives.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognised breakaway rebel provinces in the east as independent and rolled in his own troops. The West warned this was the start of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and a rain of tougher sanctions on Russia has begun to fall. NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) is also bolstering its troops in neighbouring allied countries.

According to Vladimir Putin -  the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 “a major geopolitical disaster”, saw Russia lose “40 per cent of our territory”. He questions why NATO, formed after World War II to contain the Soviet Union, has continued to expand since the USSR broke apart. Putin wants NATO to disavow talk of Ukraine ever joining the alliance, and pull back military forces in Eastern Europe, effectively rewriting boundaries agreed between NATO and Russia in 1997. Since then, more than a dozen countries in the region have joined NATO, including the former Soviet Baltic republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  In 2008, when NATO declared its intent to bring Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova into the fold, Moscow said a red line had been crossed and Russia had “nowhere further to retreat to”. In 2008, the US lobbied to let Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance but was blocked by Germany. In the years after, both Georgia and Ukraine were invaded by Russian forces.

While Ukraine is unlikely to join NATO soon, experts say Putin is determined to bring it back into Russia as he looks to reclaim some former Soviet glory and expand his “sphere of influence” in Eastern Europe. He’s even set up a loose military alliance of his own with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, and has positioned troops in Belarus, a three-hour drive from Kyiv.

Both Crimea and Donbas are home to a large number of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers. Public sentiment about the Kremlin there is mixed, even as people in the country’s west and Kyiv denounce the territory grab. Putin claims he is defending Russian-speakers, many of whom have been issued with Russian passports in recent months, but the West warns Russian reports of Ukrainian attacks in the east are part of “false flag” sabotage plots by the Kremlin designed to sow violence and offer a manufactured pretext for war. 

Going by this interesting article in -  sonorous tones of Nick Robinson, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme sounded-  “Good morning from Kyiv, capital of Ukraine – a city under fire.”  The news of the Russian invasion was startling. Also notable was the pronunciation of the city as “Kyeev”, with a short ‘i’, which has imperceptibly been replacing the more familiar “Key-ev” in recent dispatches. When, and why, did this start to happen?

Andrew Wilson is a British historian, political scientist and professor of Ukrainian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL, as well as the author of the 2014 book, Ukraine Crisis: What It Means for the West. “Kyiv is a transliteration from the letters of the Ukrainian alphabet, whereas Kiev is a transliteration from the Russian,” he explains. “It’s normal practice – as well as correct – to follow the transliteration of the language of the local state.”

Even before the current crisis, there has been a move to correct the pronunciation of the nation’s capital. Ukraine became independent in 1991 and the spelling “Kyiv” was legally approved in 1995. The change, however, didn’t become a cause célèbre until the Maidan uprising of 2014, when protests led to the ousting of the pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych, and the rise of a more Western-facing democracy. This led to the 2018 “KyivNotKiev” online campaign, started by the Ukrainian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, seen as a wider move to help shed perceptions of Soviet and Imperial Russia. As a result, Reuters, CNN – and also the BBC – started using the new spelling and pronunciation.

“Other Russian names have been changing to reflect Ukrainian spelling” says Wilson. “Odessa has become Odesa, and Lvov has become Lviv. Ukrainian is a far more beautiful language.” Similarly, there has been a move to drop “the” Ukraine, when talking about the nation. “The definite article is rarely used before the names of independent states,” notes Wilson. “This also harks back to Russian Imperialism.” Other recalibrations of place names took place in the 20th century: with Peking becoming Beijing, Calcutta becoming Kolkata, and Burma becoming Myanmar, for example. St Petersburg in Russia wears changing politics in its very identity. Known as Petrograd between 1914 and 1924, it later became Leningrad, before returning to its original name in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But as an expert in the region and a passionate admirer of the independent state, he is entirely behind the continued use of the Ukrainian “Kyiv”. This is no “woke” fashion, but the redressing of a historical injustice. “The correct pronunciation supports the principle of sovereign statehood,” he says. “‘Kiev’ legitimises Putin’s expansionism. Besides, we need to do everything we can to annoy the Russians.”

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Feb 2022.


Russia invades Ukraine and captures Chernobyl !!

It is 35 years since – an area once too busy was silenced after the meltdown – then portrayed as  a paradise for wildlife. Photos showing  foxes roaming the buildings of abandoned towns and bison and wild horses flourishing after people were permanently evacuated were in circulation – the place is again in International news ! Guess what ?

Artemisia vulgaris, (common mugwort)  is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae.   It is also occasionally known as riverside wormwood,  felon herb, chrysanthemum weed, wild wormwood, old Uncle Henry, sailor's tobacco, naughty man, old man, and more; they are  used medicinally and as culinary herbs.  No post on the plant and its usages !  .. .. .. about a city that has the same name for Artemisia vulgaris.

It is in news as Russia and Ukraine fight for its control – Chernobyl, the abandoned city in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, situated in the Vyshhorod Raion of northern Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine. Chernobyl is about 90 kilometres (60 mi) north of Kyiv, and 160 kilometres (100 mi) southwest of the Belarusian city of Gomel. Before its evacuation, the city had about 14,000 residents, while around 1,000 people live in the city today.

First mentioned as a ducal hunting lodge in 1193, the city has changed hands multiple times over the course of history. Jews were introduced to the city in the 16th century, and a now-defunct monastery was established near the city in 1626. By the end of the 18th century, Chernobyl was a major centre of Hasidic Judaism under the Twersky Dynasty, who left Chernobyl after the city was subject to pogroms in the early 20th century. The Jewish community was later murdered during the Holocaust. Chernobyl was chosen as the site of Ukraine's first nuclear power plant in 1972, located 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of the city, which opened in 1977. Chernobyl was evacuated on 5 May 1986, nine days after a catastrophic nuclear disaster at the plant, which was the largest nuclear disaster in history. Along with the residents of the nearby city of Prypiat, which was built as a home for the plant's workers, the population was relocated to the newly built city of Slavutych, and most have never returned.

As the World would remember, the  Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union.  It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in cost and casualties.  The accident occurred during a safety test on the steam turbine of an RBMK-type nuclear reactor. During a planned decrease of reactor power in preparation for the test, the power output unexpectedly dropped to near-zero. Upon test completion, the operators triggered a reactor shutdown. But a combination of operator negligence and critical design flaws had made the reactor primed to explode. Instead of shutting down, an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction began, releasing enormous amounts of energy.  The core melted down and two or more explosions ruptured the reactor core and destroyed the reactor building. This was immediately followed by an open-air reactor core fire. It released considerable airborne radioactive contamination for about nine days that precipitated onto parts of the USSR and Western Europe, before finally ending on 4 May 1986.  The reactor explosion killed two engineers and severely burned two more.  Chernobyl's health effects to the general population are uncertain.   

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP), officially the Vladimir Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, is now a closed nuclear power plant located near the abandoned city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine.  The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was the site of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces during the Battle of Chernobyl on 24 February 2022, as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian forces captured the plant the same day.  It is of strategic impotance as Chernobyl sits on the shortest route from Belarus to Kyiv, Ukraine capital, and so runs along a logical line of attack for the Russian forces invading Ukraine. In seizing Chernobyl, Western military analysts said Russia was simply using the fastest invasion route from Belarus, an ally of Moscow and a staging ground for Russian troops, to Kyiv.

The capture is part of strategy of decapitation in ousting the Ukranian Govt.  After the meltdown, the radioactive strontium, caesium and plutonium mainly affected Ukraine and neighboring Belarus, as well as parts of Russia and Europe. Soviet authorities initially sought to cover up the disaster and did not immediately admit to the explosion, tarnishing the image of reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his "glasnost" policies for greater openness in Soviet society. A make-shift cover, or "sarcophagus," was built within six months of the disaster to cover the stricken reactor and protect the environment from radiation. In November 2016, a so-called "New Safe Confinement" was moved over the old sarcophagus.

Sooner Ukraine would fall but would other Nations pitch in and would the war escalate are the worst fears lurking in everybody’s mind. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Raising the flag on Iwo Jima ~ iconic award-winning photo

                             Are you interested in photography ? – what is the settings that you would keep in your dslr F8 – shutter speed 1/400 !?!? – what is the significance ?

Joseph John Rosenthal was an American photographer; he  was rejected by the U.S. Army as a photographer because of poor eyesight.. In 1941, he attended the University of San Francisco and joined the staff of the Associated Press (AP). In 1943, he joined the United States Maritime Service as a photographer and served as a warrant officer documenting life aboard ship in the British Isles and North Africa. In 1944, he rejoined the Associated Press and followed the United States Army and U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater of Operations as a war correspondent at Hollandia, New Guinea, Guam, Peleliu, Angaur, and Iwo Jima.    He shot to prominence with a photo taken on this day in 1945 -   American people saw Rosenthal's photo as a potent symbol of victory.Wire services flashed this photograph around the world in time to appear in the Sunday newspapers on February 25, 1945.  Many magazines ran the photo on their covers. After the battle for Iwo Jima was over and won, the photo was used for posters in war bond drives through over 30 cities from May 11 through July 4, 1945 which raised $26.3 billion.

Mount Suribachi  is a 169-metre (554 ft)-high mountain on the southwest end of Iwo Jima in the northwest Pacific Ocean under the administration of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan.The mountain's name derives from its shape, resembling a suribachi or grinding bowl. Joe Rosenthal's iconic World War II photograph, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, depicting United States Marines raising an American flag, was taken at the mountain's peak during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Ammunition ship USS Suribachi was named after this mountain.

Iwo Jima (sulfur island), is one of the Japanese Volcano Islands and lies south of the Bonin Islands. Together with other islands, they form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The highest point of Iwo Jima is Mount Suribachi at 169 m (554 ft) high.  This island was the location of the Battle of Iwo Jima between February 1945 and March 1945. This engagement saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Pacific War, with each side suffering over 20,000 casualties in the battle. The island became globally recognized when Joe Rosenthal, of the Associated Press, published his photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken on Mount Suribachi. The US military occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.

The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945) was a major battle in which the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during World War II. The American invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the purpose of capturing the island with its two airfields: South Field and Central Field.

The five-week battle saw some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the Pacific War.The Japanese combat deaths numbered three times the number of American deaths, but uniquely among Pacific War Marine battles, the American total casualties (dead and wounded) exceeded those of the Japanese.  Of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured only because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. Most of the remainder were killed in action, but it has been estimated that as many as 3,000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards until they eventually succumbed to their injuries or surrendered weeks later.

Despite the bloody fighting and severe casualties on both sides, the American victory was assured from the start. Overwhelming American superiority in numbers and arms as well as complete air supremacy—coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement, as well as sparse food and supplies—permitted no plausible circumstance in which the Japanese could have ultimately won the battle.The action was controversial, with retired Chief of Naval Operations William V. Pratt stating that the island was useless to the Army as a staging base and useless to the Navy as a fleet base. The Japanese continued to have early-warning radar from Rota island, which was never invaded, and the captured air field was barely used.

On February 19, 1945, the United States invaded Iwo Jima as part of its island-hopping strategy to defeat Japan. Iwo Jima originally was not a target, but the relatively quick fall of the Philippines left the Americans with a longer-than-expected lull prior to the planned invasion of Okinawa. Iwo Jima is located halfway between Japan and the Mariana Islands, where American long-range bombers were based, and was used by the Japanese as an early warning station, radioing warnings of incoming American bombers to the Japanese homeland. The island is dominated by Mount Suribachi, a 546-foot (166 m) dormant volcanic cone at the southern tip of the island. Tactically, the top of Suribachi was one of the most important locations on the island. From that vantage point, the Japanese defenders were able to spot artillery accurately onto the Americans—particularly the landing beaches. The Japanese fought most of the battle from underground bunkers and pillboxes. The American effort concentrated on isolating and capturing Suribachi first, a goal that was achieved on February 23, 1945, four days after the battle began. Despite capturing Suribachi, the battle continued to rage for many days, and the island would not be declared "secure" until 31 days later, on March 26. 

  Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an iconic photograph of six United States Marines raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the final stages of the Pacific War. The photograph, taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press on February 23, 1945, was first published in Sunday newspapers two days later and reprinted in thousands of publications. It was the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and was later used for the construction of the Marine Corps War Memorial in 1954, which was dedicated to honor all Marines who died in service since 1775.  The flag raising occurred in the early afternoon, after the mountaintop was captured and a smaller flag was raised on top that morning. Three of the six Marines in the photograph—Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, and Private First Class Franklin Sousley—were killed in action during the battle; Block was identified as Sergeant Hank Hansen until January 1947 and Sousley was identified as PhM2c. John Bradley, USN, until June 2016.The Associated Press has relinquished its copyright to the photograph, placing it in the public domain.

So, the photo of two  American flags raised on top of Mount Suribachi, on February 23, 1945,  actually of the second flag-raising, became iconic and won Pulitzer prize too.  The man, the photographer Joseph John Rosenthal (1911 – 2006) was an American photographer, and his click became one of the best-known photographs of the war,  replicated as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Rosenthal reportedly piled stones and a sandbag so he had something on which to stand, as he was only 5 feet and 5 inches (1.65 m) tall. He set his camera for a lens setting between f/8 and f/11 and the shutter speed at 1/400th second. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw six Marines start to raise the second flag. He swung his camera around toward the action and pushed the shutter. Three feet to his right, Sgt. Genaust captured the flag-raising from nearly the same angle using color motion picture film. To make sure he had a worthwhile photo to send to the AP, Rosenthal took another black and white photograph showing four of the second flag-raisers steadying the flagstaff and waiting for the bottom of the pipe to be more secured with rocks; and afterwards a rope. When that was done, Rosenthal gathered a group of sixteen Marines and two Navy corpsmen around the base of the flagstaff for a posed shot (called the "Gung Ho" photo) which included First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, the only officer on the summit, who had volunteered to take the 40-man patrol up Mount Suribachi that morning to seize and occupy the crest and raise the battalion's flag.

The International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York displays the camera used by Rosenthal to take the photograph. The 2006 Hollywood film ‘Flags of Our Fathers’, directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the stories of the American flag raisers who raised the famous flag on Mount Suribachi and depicts Rosenthal's involvement in the events that led up to his taking the iconic flag raising photograph. Rosenthal was portrayed by actor Ned Eisenberg in the film.

Interesting !  - does anyone care about the photographs that we take !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Lotus blooms in Chennai too !! Smt Uma Anandan wins !!

Today there are no. of pages in web returning ‘404’ error.  

Every day – we search for things – be it the specs, vehicle keys, office keys – then you start searching for that all important mail, file and more … not a day passes out without googling – when in doubt ‘google’ is the mantra. 

As you make a web search – you get so much of unwanted information, not able to pick on what you wanted; then there is the error [not the days of dialer connections, when pages would not open at all !] – it is the error message of ‘page not found – the page that you are searching for is not available – either it is no longer there or you type the web address again !’ 

When communicating via HTTP, a server is required to respond to a request, such as a web browser request for a web page, with a numeric response code and an optional, mandatory, or disallowed (based upon the status code) message. And there comes the unique ‘404’  .. .. ..  the 404 or Not Found error message is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) standard response code, in computer network communications, to indicate that the client was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested. The web site hosting server will typically generate a "404 Not Found" web page when a user attempts to follow a broken or dead link; hence the 404 error is one of the most recognizable errors encountered on the World Wide Web. 

Well, today’s 404 is no technical glitch – this morning as counting of votes of Tamil Nadu Urban Civic Local Body election  started !  - : Counting of votes began at 8 am amid tight security arrangements in Chennai.  There had been low turnout in Chennai and some other places. 

The ruling DMK with all its power is all set to win majority of seats.  In between, a particular candidate Smt. Uma Anandan was mocked and trolled by social media goons falsely spreading that she got just 8 votes – while the fact is otherwise.


At  ward no. 134 in Chennai – sailing far above both DMK and ADMK, Mrs Uma Anandan of BJP won by a big margin of over 2000 votes.  BJP secured 5635 votes; Congress+DMK alliance 3503, ADMK 2655 !!  -  the social activist who has been vociferous on temple issues and rights of Hindus has individually won by a handsome margin.


Greetings and congratulations to Smt. Uma Anandan. 

Those websites and individuals who had earlier tweeted and posted vile message that she got only 8 votes, have since removed them and the searches now return 404 error !! 


Schadenfreude - what ? ! ?

In  life, one’s support need not rest with the powerful or the most likely winner – nay, nothing connected to present politics of Tamil Nadu or of the local body elections.  For elections – there is only one request / one rule – do vote, never give a silly reason and abstain – it is democratic right and exercise it judiciously by voting for the right candidate, ensure that wrong ones are defeated !

In games – Tennis – I was a great fan of Ivan Lendl, time and again he would perform so well at Wimbledon but falter at the last lap and I would not want to read the newspaper at the finals, those details of how he lost would always be painful.  Miles away in Australian Open 2022, Rafael Nadal edged Medvedev in an epic final, roaring back from two sets down to claim a record 21st Grand Slam title.  Riding a wave of raucous support from the crowd, a vintage Nadal pulled off one of his finest performances to deny Medvedev again, less than three years after leaving the Russian heartbroken in five sets at the 2019 U.S. Open final. In a match steeped in drama, Nadal was two points from the title but was broken as he served for the match at 5-4.He held firm to break Medvedev again and served out the match to love, rushing in to deliver a backhand volley as a stunning coup de grace.

With Novak Djokovic forced out by deportation and Roger Federer recovering from knee surgery, the Spanish great is now one major title clear of his ‘Big Three’ rivals after surviving the 2-6 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 7-5 thriller at Rod Laver Arena.

.. .. and why was Djokovic absent.  In 2021 - Novak Djokovic had successfully defended the Men's Singles title as he claimed his 18th Grand Slam title, defeating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Sofia Kenin was the defending Women's Singles champion, but she lost to Kaia Kanepi in the second round. In the final, Naomi Osaka claimed her fourth Grand Slam singles title, defeating first-time Major finalist Jennifer Brady in straight sets.

I am no great fan of Nadal but one of Djoko.  Words like “indomitable” and “intransigent” have always figured in the accolades heaped upon Novak Djokovic. But those same qualities may ultimately torpedo Djokovic’s proclaimed goal of becoming the most prolific Grand Slam champion in the history of the game.In telling the BBC that he is unequivocally committed to sitting out the upcoming majors if they require him to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the world’s No. 1 player is throwing his own left hook at the tennis establishment. Now, with the pandemic seemingly on the wane, growing resistance to protocols triggered by the health crisis, and tennis eager to return to a semblance of normalcy, the question becomes, “Who blinks?”

Will the lords of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open mount some form of campaign to ensure that Djokovic be able to compete, or will they stand firm on rules that make competing in their events contingent upon being vaccinated? A lot can happen in the coming months, but it’s as if Djokovic and the tennis establishment are playing an unprecedented game of chicken, only that proverbial cliff neither really wants to go over keeps moving.“Freedom” and “principle” are powerful words that ought to be used sparingly in the Covid conversation. Nobody has ever questioned Djokovic’s freedom to be unvaccinated, only the idea that he was free to game the system in January, or avoid the rules governing entry into tennis tournaments. Incidentally, the majority of Djokovic’s peers have quietly accepted vaccination and its inherent risks as the cost of doing business, and they’ve done it without throwing around loaded words like “sacrifice,” or “civic duty.”

The first element is social comparison,  “the way people manage their own egos, how they wish to perceive themselves as good enough or sometimes better than others … it is a reward experience, that feeling of superiority when someone else fails”. This is the schadenfreude that is rooted in envy or resentment, the kind you would be likely to feel towards a friend who was also a rival.

Did some people concentrate more on those who missed out on IPL auction rather than gloating on the crores won by some else ?   in the much fancied IPL Auction 2022 – a total of 204 players were sold with value of Rs.551.70 crores – obviously there were some big names that went unsold with no franchise hearing when their names were sounded.  That list has Suresh Raina, Steve Smith, Shakib al Hasan, Adil Rashid, Imran Tahir, Aaron Finch, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Chris Lynn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Adam Zampa, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, Martin Guptill, Sheldon Cottrell, Amit Mishra among many others. 

Be it the unsold or the case of Novak Djokovic – it was apparent that some fet happy in them faltering !  - in career too, one would have observed people enjoying and having a personal satisfaction when rivals falter.  When someone does not get the promotion, one could see a barely recognizable twitch of grin before the tumble of commiserations. Make no mistake. Over time, and in many different places, when it comes to making SELF  happy, we humans have long relied on the humiliations and failures of other people.

There has never really been a word for these grubby delights in English. In the 1500s, someone attempted to introduce “epicaricacy” from the ancient Greek, but it didn’t catch on. In 1640, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote a list of human passions, he asked, “that men take pleasure to behold from the shore the danger of them that are at sea in a tempest?” What strange combination of joy and pity, he wrote, makes people “content to be spectators of the misery of their friends”? Hobbes’s mysterious and terrible passion remained without a name, in the English language at least. In 1926, a journalist in The Spectator asserted that “there is no English word for Schadenfreude because there is no such feeling here.” He was wrong.. .. ..

Schadenfreude (German:lit. 'harm-joy') is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another. It is a borrowed word from German, with no direct translation, that originated in the 18th century.  Gleaning the web further, there appears equivalents in many languages !!  :   The Japanese have a saying: “The misfortunes of others taste like honey.” The French speak of joie maligne, a diabolical delight in other people’s suffering. The Danish talk of skadefryd, and the Dutch of leedvermaak. “To see others suffer does one good,” wrote the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. “To make others suffer even more so. This is a hard saying, but a mighty, human, all-too-human principle.”

Today, Schadenfreude is all around us. It’s there in the way we conduct ourselves,  how we treat celebrities, in online fail videos. But these heady pleasures are shot through with unease. Moralists have long despised Schadenfreude. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer called it “an infallible sign of a thoroughly bad heart and profound moral worthlessness,” the very worst trait in human nature. (He also said that anyone caught enjoying the suffering of others should be shunned from human society !- if that be done, how many or who would remain)!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Feb 2022. 

squirrel monkey stolen from Vandalur !!

If you are a Chennaite and over 50 years of age, you may recall that there once existed a Zoo nearer Moore market complex (Central Railway station) and alter shifted to Vandalur.  Earlier, it was mostly animals in cage, whereas at Vandalur most animals are in their natural environ, and look far more healthy !!

But what is a Zoological park ?  -  the model of the modern, public zoo became popular in 18th century, during the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was a period in European history when science, reason, and logic were promoted as ideals of society and government. The scientific focus of the Age of Enlightenment extended to zoology. Zoos first began centuries ago as centres of entertainment to satisfy people’s curiosity about animals. Vandalur zoo is on a sprawling area, one will have to walk a lot from one enclosure to another …. .. it is well bounded too !  .. .. yet occasionally some animals (including reptiles like crocodiles) disappear !!  - recently occurred a  theft of ‘squirrel monkeys’ in an attempt that would sooner be shown in one of the movies !

Squirrel monkeys are New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. Saimiri is the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae. The name of the genus is of Tupi origin (sai meaning 'monkey' and mirím meaning 'small'). Squirrel monkeys live in the tropical forests of Central and South America in the canopy layer. Most species have parapatric or allopatric ranges in the Amazon, while S. oerstedii is found disjunctly in Costa Rica and Panama.The monkeys  are differentiated based on the shape of the white coloration above the eyes. Squirrel monkeys have short and close fur colored black at the shoulders, yellow or orange fur along the back and extremities, and white on the face.Squirrel monkeys can only sweat through the palms of their hands and feet. This can have the effect of making their hands and feet feel damp to the touch.

On a Saturday, the forest ranger was shocked to see the cage of squirrel monkeys with wires chopped – a complaint was lodged at the local Police Station on the missing monkeys.   Appreciably the two squirrel monkeys that went missing  were rescued at Arignar Anna Zoological Park sooner.

It is stated to be done with connivance of a temporary worker inside the zoo.  The accused posing as a visitor  cut open the chain link and got away with the squirrel monkeys.  Back in July 2020, two male squirrel monkeys were handed over to Arignar Anna Zoological Park by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai after they were seized by Customs  Authorities.   According to the press release "On February 8, the forest range officer at the zoo reported that night patrolling party when they were on rounds early in the morning found that the chain-link fencing of squirrel monkey enclosure was cut open by some miscreants and the two male squirrelmonkeys were found missing.  In addition to police complaint,   the Director of the zoo also initiated an internal investigation, and CCTV footage was screened to get clues and leads. A lot of effort was made to screen CCTV footage in the various cameras in the zoo.

There were clues of a miscreant  about a visitor turned criminal were seen and shared.  The official added that a temporary zoo worker was handed in gloves with him. Police said a contract worker at the zoo, Sathyavel, 34, had masterminded the theft on February 7. He had got a friend, Janakiraman, 21, to buy at ticket and enter the zoo that day. They waited till the visitors left and between 7.30pm and 8.30 pm cut the wires of the monkeys' cage, where there was no CCTV, and put the animals in a backpack with holes in it for ventilation.

On Sathyavel's instructions Janakiraman, to avoid cameras and watchmen, carried the backpack through a bamboo thicket to the elephant park, when the elephants were chained for the night. He then climbed a tree near the six-foot compound wall and jumped over to the Vandalur-Kelambakkam Road where Sathyavel was waiting on a bike. They went to pet trader Vinoth and sold the monkeys for 4 lakh. Tambaram police commissioner M Ravi deputed a team led by deputy commissioner Sibi Chakravarthy to investigate. Police zeroed in Sathyavel as CCTV camera footage at the gate showed him handing a backpack to a visitor entering the zoo.On checking CCTV footage from the zoo, police zeroed in on Sathyavel as he was spotted handing over a bag to a visitor.

Meanwhile, Vinoth had kept the monkeys in a fruit basket at his house and showed them to his friends, claiming to have got them from a friend abroad.Police said they could rescue the animals as Vinoth could not offer them for sale immediately as news of the squirrel monkeys going missing from the zoo had spread.S Sathyavel, D Janakiraman, Vinoth, 29, and a mutual acquaintance, Loganathan, 21, were arrested.

With regards – S.Sampathkumar
16th Feb 2022. 

some history, some Ranji - some Cricket !!!

Recently, Bihar's Sakibul Gani, created a world record by becoming the first batsman in the world to score a triple century on first-class debut. Gani scored  341 runs from 405 balls in Ranji Trophy against Mizoram.


Are you a Cricket fan and when did you watch a Ranji Trophy match last, that too in the ground ?  .. .. in 1970/1980s we used to go to Chepauk regularly watching the exploits of B Kalyanasundaram, VV Kumar, S Venkatraghavan, TE Srinivasan,  V Sivaramakrishnan, CS Sureshkumar, Abdul Jabbar, Krish Srikkanth, WV Raman, L Sivaramakrishnan, TA Sekhar, Barath Reddy . .. .. as also stars from visiting teams like – Gundappa Viswanath, Roger Binny, Prasanna, Chandra, Raguram Bhat .. .. .. and more .. .. and do you remember Saxena. In Jan 2012, in Ranji finals, Goan born Vineet Ashokkumar Saxena playing for Rajasthan scored 257 ! 

IPL Auctions were very interesting and was a big money game .. .. so many players won lucrative contracts.  Avesh Khan is going through one of the best phases of his career currently. With an India cap knocking on the doors, the lanky fast bowler shattered records in the recently-concluded IPL auction 2022 in Bengaluru, becoming the most expensive uncapped cricketer in the history of IPL auctions when Lucknow Super Giants acquired him for a whopping Rs 10 crore. There has to be other side of the story as well – a legend, Chinna thala Suresh Raina went unsold – CSK did not bid for him !! 

Sooner we will be engrossed in the action of IPL 15 – now sponsored by Tata and hence TATA IPL 2022 with ten teams playing.  

Simply put, Ranji Trophy is contested by teams from States (there are exceptions Mumbai, Hyderabad ! – Services, Railways !)  . .. .. and ages ago Holkar too played. Malhar Rao Holkar (1693 – 1766)  was a noble subedar of the Maratha Empire.    One of the foremost commanders of the Maratha Empire (1760), he participated in the great victory in the Battle of Delhi (1737), and the defeat of the Nizam in the Battle of Bhopal. He was also part of the campaign that wrested Vasai from the Portuguese in 1739.  From 1748 onwards, Malhar Rao Holkar's position in Malwa became firm and secur

In Nov 2012, at Ahmedabad, India beat England by 9 wickets.  Nick Compton made his debut.  Nicholas Richard Denis Compton, born in Durban, Natal, South Africa is grandson of   legendary DenisCompton.

Gone are those days, whence -   domestic cricket tournaments like Duleep Trophy, Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Irani Cup, Challenger Trophy and others helped the selectors pick new players. It is era of IPL and there can be 4 overseas players for a side in a match.  There have been some foreign players in Ranji istory too.   Dennis Compton too played in Ranji !  - he made his debut at 19 scored 65 against NZ at Oval and sooner scored his maiden test century against Don Bradman’s team at Trent Bridge.  Compton played 78 Tests over a 20-year period and ended with 5807 runs, often scored with breathtaking attacking batting with a very impressive average of 50.06.  Those were the period rocked by World Wars and his career too had a gap of 7 years between 1939 and 1946 because of war and injury   sustained while playing for Arsenal and later the Second World War during which he served in India on British Army duty as a Sergeant Major.  He played for Holkar in Ranji.   Compton played three Ranji Trophy matches and 7 other games during his stint in India between 1944 and 1946. In the 10 matches, he scored over 1300 runs at an average of 87, which included 7 centuries. He resumed his Test career in England in 1946, coincidentally in a series against India (was dismissed for a first ball duck by Lala Amarnath) and went on to score runs in plenty in international cricket to cement his name among the all-time cricket greats. 

The news is Ranji trophy would be back now with revised rules in tune with Covid times.  Nine players can constitute a team in the eventuality of a medical emergency in Ranji Trophy this season, BCCI has announced in a list of guidelines formulated in view of the COVID-19 situation in the country. The norm, though, is applicable only after a match has begun and the team is exhausted of like-for-like replacements.

The board is taking all precautions to conduct the premier first-class tournament that begins on February 17 after a two-year pandemic-induced layoff. “Due to COVID outbreak within a team after the start of the match, if the team has a minimum of nine players available to take the field (after utilising all the replacements), then the match will continue,” the board stated in a circular issued on Tuesday.The board has not stopped their planning at that. In case a team is unable to field even nine players after the match has started, it has laid down a set of parameters to decide the game’s outcome. “In the league stage, points will be awarded to the teams based on points table. During knockout games, qualification for the next round will be determined by a higher run quotient or spin of the coin.” the circular explained.

The match referee would decide on a team’s request for a like-for-like replacement. He would evaluate whether the replacement furnishes an undue advantage to his team. If he believes that the replacement would excessively benefit the team, “he may impose such conditions upon the identity and involvement of the COVID-19 replacement as he/she sees fit, in line with the overriding objective of facilitating a like-for-like replacement for the relevant player.” That is, a referee could decide the role of the player.

Another fresh guideline was that bowlers can’t tape their bowling hand. “The bowler has to remove all kinds of taping from his bowling hand if he wants to bowl. This is non-negotiable. If any plaster is worn on the back of their bowling hand it must be flesh coloured or thereabouts, which will not distract the batsman,” add the circular.

Before concluding, some of the foreign players who have played Ranji would include – Vikram Solanki and Kabir Ali, both played for Rajasthan. Another English player, Nayan Doshi - son of former India spinner Dilip Doshi - turned out in the Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra for four seasons between 2001 and 2005. 

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Feb 2022. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

India's moment of pride : young prodigy Praggnanandhaa's date with destiny !!

We watched IPL auctions and then ODI & T20 series involving West Indies and India – not many of us followed Airthings Masters !! – tomorrow all newspapers would have it on their headlines !


Chess is not exactly a spectator sport – still state-of-the art transmission of top chess tournaments has created a new niche: Chess commentary when Vishwanathan Anand played in Chennai .  .. .. do you know the first Chess player to receive National honours was -  Anupama Gokhale (born Anupama Abhyankar. She won the Indian Women's Championship five times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1997) and the Asian Women's Championship twice (1985 and 1987).  Gokhale was the recipient of the Padma Shri Award in 1986  and the Arjuna Award in 1990. She is the youngest Padma Shri awardee, being only 16 years old when she received it. She is married to Dronacharya Award winner Raghunandan Gokhale, a chess player himself.   

Levon Grigori Aronian   is an Armenian-American chess grandmaster. A chess prodigy, he earned the title of grandmaster in 2000, at age 17. Aronian held the No. 2 position in the March 2014 FIDE world chess rankings with a rating of 2830,  becoming the fourth-highest rated player in history. Aronian won the FIDE World Cup in 2005 and 2017. He led the Armenian national team to the gold medals in the Chess Olympiads of 2006 (Turin), 2008 (Dresden) and 2012 (Istanbul)  and at the World Team Chess Championship in Ningbo 2011.  Aronian has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000s.  Well, the David Beckham of Chess was beaten by an Indian this day, but that would not be headlines of tomorrow !! 

The Airthings Masters tournament kicks off this year’s Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. Sixteen players in total will battle it out in the round-robin stage of the online event before eight go forward to the knockout stage. The tournament has begun on Feb 19, with the action kicking off daily at 18.00 CET.   The Champions Chess Tour 2022, known for sponsorship reasons as the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, is a 9-month series of nine online chess tournaments featuring some of the world's top players, who play for a prize money pool of US$1.6 million.  In the Airthings Masters, a 16-player online rapid tournament, a player gets three points for a win and one for a draw in the preliminary rounds. Seven more rounds remain in the preliminary phase. 

Today Indian prodigy 16 year old Praggnanandhaa   outplayed Levon Aronian and swallowed it with a bigger win over -   Magnus Carlsen – it is an extraordinary day as he has beaten  Levon Aronian and that is not the biggest news of the day! 

Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen is known to Indians – he played in Chennai too and dethroned Vish Anand.  The Norwegian chess grandmaster  is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion. Carlsen is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen has held the No. 1 position in the FIDE world chess rankings since 1 July 2011, and trails only Garry Kasparov in time spent as the highest rated player in the world. His peak rating of 2882 is the highest in history. He also holds the record for the longest unbeaten streak at the top level in classical chess. 

            In 2010, at 19, he reached No. 1 in the FIDE world rankings, the youngest person ever to do so. Carlsen became World Chess Champion in 2013 by defeating Viswanathan Anand. The following year, he retained his title against Anand, and won both the 2014 World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship, becoming the first player to hold all three titles simultaneously, a feat which he repeated in 2019. He defended his classical world title against Sergey Karjakin in 2016, against Fabiano Caruana in 2018, and against Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2021.


The great news is young Indian Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa stunned world no. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the eighth round of the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess tournament. Praggnanandhaa won with black pieces in 39 moves in a Tarrasch variation game early on Monday to halt Carlsen's run of three straight wins.  

The Indian GM lies in joint 12th spot after eight rounds with eight points. His spectacular win over Carlsen comes after a moderate run in the earlier rounds, which included a solitary victory over Lev Aronian, two draws and four defeats. He drew against Anish Giri and Quang Liem Le and lost to Eric Hansen, Ding Liren, Jan-Kryzstof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.  Praggnanandhaa played  with the black pieces at the Airthings Masters 2022. It was an online game with a time control of 15+10. Until now the only Indians to beat Magnus in a tournament game have been Anand and P. Harikrishna. Pragg now joins the list!  

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (born 10 August 2005) is an Indian chess grandmaster. A chess prodigy, he is the fifth-youngest person ever to achieve the title of Grandmaster (GM), behind Abhimanyu Mishra, Sergey Karjakin, Gukesh D and Javokhir Sindarov. He is the younger sibling of Vaishali Rameshbabu. Praggnanandhaa won the World Youth Chess Championships Under-8 title in 2013, earning him the title of FIDE Master at the age of 7. He won the Under-10 title in 2015. In 2016, Praggnanandhaa became the youngest international master in history, at the age of 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days.  He achieved his first grandmaster norm at the World Junior Chess Championship in November 2017, finishing fourth with 8 points. 

A great day for the Nation indeed !! – hearty wishes to young genius Praggnanandhaa
With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st Feb 2022. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

jhanvasa car vs horse drawn carriage

 Horse drawn carriage – horses decorated.  Those days on the day prior to marriage, there would be procession known as jhanvasam. 

Some of you reading this might recall your own experience, wearing Suit or safari and being taken around in open car (Vadivudai amman kadai vandi in Triplicane). Some may recall

·         Their jhanvasam on a single horse

·         On decorated chariots

·         On Morris minor / Chevrolet open top vehicles

·         .. .. .. and in Ambassador (closed car too) 

.. ..  rekindle your memories and enjoy – photoshop yourself astride this chariot .. life is happier spent in imagination than ………..

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Vote without fail in TN Urban Civic Polls

 *Cast your Vote in TN Urban Civic Poll* 

Today is the day of - Tamil Nadu Urban Civic Polls.    After a gap of over 10 years, the Tamil Nadu urban local body polls are being held today (Saturday 19.2.2022)  in a single phase.  Voting begins at 7 am and will end at 6 pm.  Factually the time span is 7 am to 5 pm – as 5pm to 6 pm is for Covid19 affected.   It is Electronic machine polling and not paper ballots. 

Please go out and vote – never waste your franchise.  For those of us at Vasavi Parthas, Vijay Avenue, Venkatrangam Street – the polling booth is MOP Vaishnava School opp to Vasantha Bungalow. Just in case, you want have some information on the candidates at your ward (ours is Ward 116 Zone 9) – all details are available in Tamil Nadu State Election Commission web portal ( 

You may require a Booth slip, which is available at the entrance of Pooling Booth itself.  This booth slip is only for information and not the identity card for voting.  Please carry with you a valid proof that would include :  Aadhar card, MGNREGA identify card, Bank or Postal account passbook with photo, Health insurance smart card (issued by the government labour welfare department), Driving licence, PAN card, smart card issued under the National Population Register, Passport, retirement benefit cards, identity cards issued by government agencies or Public Sector Undertakings. 

Do go and exercise your franchise.  I have cast my vote spending just 10 minutes!!!


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Friday, February 18, 2022

Apex Court on Insurer's denying theft claim reported after long delay !!

 Insurance is a contract and in every legal contract, contracting parties are bound by the terms and conditions agreed upon.  Any ambiguity in the contract will be held against the drafter of the contractor.  Insurers indemnifies losses arising out insured perils occurring during the currency of policy – subject to compliance of the  terms and conditions.  Every policy would mandate intimation of loss within reasonable time and some policies do specify the dates within which the incident will have to be reported to Insurers, by notice in writing.

Before you read further, how many vehicles do you own ? – are you sure that insurances are live and have full comprehensive coverage.  Please do check.  Package Motor policies, cover  loss or damage  to subject matter insured ie., vehicle against varied perils including ‘theft’ of the vehicle.  Here is an interesting case decided recently by the Apex Court on repudiation of a claim that was intimated after long delay.

This was an Appeal before the Supreme Court   against the impugned order of 2016 passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi (NCDRC).  NCDRC had allowed the revision petition filed by the Insurer- allowing the set aside the order of Dec  2015 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal, Commission, Haryana at Panchkula and the order of Feb 2015  by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Gurgaon.  Surprisingly the Insurers appears to have been not represented though notice reportedly was served on them !!

The precise question for consideration before  Apex Court was : whether the Insurance Company could repudiate the claim in toto, made by the owner of the vehicle, which was duly insured with the insurance company, in case of loss of the vehicle due to theft, merely on the ground that there was a delay in informing the company regarding the theft of vehicle?

The undisputed facts transpiring from the record are that the vehicle in question i.e., Tata Aiwa Truck  was purchased by the appellant on 31.10.2007; duly insured with PSU Insurer and vehicle was robbed by some miscreants on 04.11.2007. Consequently, an FIR was registered by the appellant-complainant on 05.11.2007 for the offence under Section 395 IPC at Police Station Nagina, District Mewat (Haryana). The police arrested the accused and also filed the challan against them in the concerned Court, however, the vehicle in question could not be traced and, therefore, the police filed untraceable report on 23.08.2008. Thereafter, the complainant lodged the claim with the Insurance Company with regard to the theft of the vehicle in question. Since insurance settlement was not forthcoming,  the appellant-complainant filed a complaint being the Consumer Complaint  before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Gurgaon.

During the pendency of the complaint before DF, Insurers repudiated the claim,    stating inter alia that there was a breach of condition no. 1 of the policy which mandated immediate notice to the insurer of the accidental loss/damage, and that the complainant had intimated about the loss on 11.04.2008 i.e. after the lapse of more than five months and, therefore, the Insurance Company  disowned their liability on the claim of the complainant.

The District Forum allowed the said claim of the complainant by holding that the complainant was entitled to the insured amount on non-standard basis, i.e., Rs. 12,79,399/- as 75% of the IDV i.e., Rs. 17,05,865/- with interest @ 6% p.a. from the date of filing of the complaint till realization from the Insurance Company. The District Forum also awarded compensation of Rs.10,000/- and litigation expenses of Rs.5,000/- to the complainant. The aggrieved Insurance Company preferred an appeal before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (Haryana), Panchkula. The complainant also preferred an appeal being Appeal  seeking enhancement of compensation. The State Commission dismissed the appeal filed by the Insurance Company and partly allowed the appeal filed by the complainant by increasing rate of interest awarded by the District Forum from 6% to 9%.

The repudiation of the claim was on the grounds of breach of condition no. 1 of the Policy which is reproduced here :

"1. Notice shall be given in writing to the company immediately upon the occurrence of any accidental loss or damage in the event of any claim and thereafter the insured shall give all such information and assistance as the company shall require. Every letter, claim, writ, summons and/or process or copy thereof shall be forwarded to the company immediately on receipt by the insured. Notice shall also be given in writing to the company immediately the insured shall have knowledge of any impending prosecution, inquest or fatal inquiry in respect of any occurrence which may give rise to a claim under this policy. In case of a major loss, theft or criminal act which may be the subject of a claim under this policy the insured shall give immediate notice to the police and co-operate with the company in securing the conviction of the offender."

Apex Court noted that   there being a conflict of decisions of the Bench of two Judges of this Court in case of Om Prakash vs. Reliance General Insurance & Another and in case of Oriental Insurance Company Limited vs. Parvesh Chander Chadha, on the question as to whether the delay occurred in informing the Insurance Company about the occurrence of the theft of the vehicle, though the FIR was registered immediately, would disentitle the claimant of the insurance claim, the matter was referred to a three Judge Bench. The three Judge Bench in case of Gurshinder Singh vs. Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd. & Another reported in 2020 in similar case as on hand, interpreted the very condition no. 1 of the Insurance Contract and observed as under: 

"9. We are of the view that much would depend upon the words "cooperate" and "immediate", in Condition 1 of the standard form for commercial vehicles package policy. Before we analyse this case any further, we need to observe the rules of interpretation applicable to a contract of insurance. Generally, an insurance contract is governed by the rules of interpretation applicable to the general contracts. However, due to the specialised nature of contract of insurance, certain rules are tailored to suit insurance contracts. Under the English law, the development of insurance jurisprudence is given credence to Lord Mansfield, who developed the law from its infancy. Without going much into the development of the interpretation rules, we may allude to Neuberger, J. in Arnold v. Britton, which is simplified as under:

(1) Reliance placed in some cases on commercial common sense and surrounding circumstances was not to be invoked to undervalue the importance of the language of the provision which is to be construed.

(2) The less clear the words used were, the more ready the court could properly be to depart from their natural meaning, but that did not justify departing from the natural meaning.

(3) Commercial common sense was not to be invoked retrospectively, so that the mere fact that a contractual arrangement has worked out badly, or even disastrously, for one of the parties was not a reason for departing from the natural language.

(4) A court should be very slow to reject the natural meaning of a provision as correct simply because it appeared to be a very imprudent term for one of the parties to have agreed.

(5) When interpreting a contractual provision, the court could only take into account facts or circumstances which existed at the time that the contract was made and which were known or reasonably available to both parties.

(6) If an event subsequently occurred which was plainly not intended or contemplated by the parties, if it was clear what the parties would have intended, the court would give effect to that intention.

A perusal of the aforesaid shows that this contract is to be interpreted according to the context involved in the contract. The contract we are interpreting is a commercial vehicle package policy. The  court in such circumstances would consider the application of the rule of contra proferentem, when ambiguity exists and an interpretation of the contract is preferred which favours the party with lesser bargaining power. 

Insurers contended that  the insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the insured and the parties would be strictly bound by the terms and conditions as provided in the contract between the parties.  The Court held that in their view, Condition 1 of the standard form for commercial vehicles package policy will have to be divided into two parts. The perusal of the first part of Condition

First part  would reveal that it provides that "a notice shall be given in writing to the company immediately upon the occurrence of any accidental loss or damage".  A perusal of the wordings used in this part would reveal that all the things which are required to be done under this part are related to an occurrence of an accident. On occurrence of an accidental loss, the insured is required to immediately give a notice in writing to the company. This appears to be so that the company can assign a surveyor so as to assess the damages suffered by the insured/vehicle.  is contemplated in respect of an accident occurring to the vehicle.

The second part of condition   deals with the "theft or criminal act other than the accident". It provides that in case of theft or criminal act which may be the subject of a claim under the policy, the insured shall give immediate notice to the police and cooperate with the company in securing the conviction of the offender. The object behind giving immediate notice to the police appears to be that if the police is immediately informed about the theft or any criminal act, the police machinery can be set in motion and steps for recovery of the vehicle could be expedited. In a case of theft, the insurance company or a surveyor would have a limited role. It is the police, who acting on the FIR of the insured, will be required to take immediate steps for tracing and recovering the vehicle. Per contra, the surveyor of the insurance company, at the most, could ascertain the factum regarding the theft of the vehicle.

The Court further noted that - after the registration of an FIR, the police successfully recovering the vehicle and returning the same to the insured, there would be no occasion to lodge a claim for compensation on account of the policy. It is only when the police are not in a position to trace and recover the vehicle and the final report is lodged by the police after the vehicle is not traced, the insured would be in a position to lodge his claim for compensation. The term "cooperate" as used under the contract needs to be assessed in the facts and circumstances. While assessing the "duty to cooperate" for the insured, inter alia, the court should have regard to those breaches by the insured which are prejudicial to the insurance company. Usually, mere delay in informing the theft to the insurer, when the same was already informed to the law enforcement authorities, cannot amount to a breach of "duty to cooperate" of the insured. 

 The Court held that -  when an insured has lodged the FIR immediately after the theft of a vehicle occurred and when the police after investigation have lodged a final report after the vehicle was not traced and when the surveyors/investigators appointed by the insurance company have found the claim of the theft to be genuine, then mere delay in intimating the insurance company about the occurrence of the theft cannot be a ground to deny the claim of the insured.

In the opinion of the Court the afore-stated ratio of the judgment clinches the issue involved in the case on hand, nonetheless, it is pertinent to note that the Insurance Company has not repudiated the claim on the ground that it was not genuine.It has repudiated only on the ground of delay. When the complainant had lodged the FIR immediately after the theft of the vehicle, and when the police after the investigation had arrested the accused and also filed challan before the concerned Court, and when the claim of the insured was not found to be not genuine, the Insurance Company could not have repudiated the claim merely on the ground that there was a delay in intimating the Insurance Company about the occurrence of the theft.

The Court concluded that -   NCDRC should not have set aside the orders of the District Forum and the State Commission by holding that the repudiation of the insurance claim by the insurance company was justified. The impugned order being erroneous and against the settled position of law, deserves to be set aside, and is set aside, accordingly.  Stating so, the Court allowed the appeal affirming the order of the State Commission.

Interesting and there are lessons for all concerned

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
18th Feb 2022.

Case citation :Jaina Construction Company Vs. The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. - Civil Appeal No. 1069 of 2022; pronounced on 11.2.2022.