Referring to its July 6, 2018 Circular to comply with the Supreme Court’s direction in the case of M.C. Mehta Vs. Union of India and Others, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on August 20, 2020 had sent a letter all CEOs/ CMDs of General Insurance Companies and asked them to ensure that a valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate is produced at the time of renewal of insurance of a vehicle.
On the speculation that if the condition of unavailability of PUC certificate results into rejection of renewal request, the same condition may also results into rejection of claim requests, some reports were published in the media to the effect that if there is no valid PUC certificate at the time of accident, claim under a motor insurance policy is not payable.
Terming such reports as “misleading”, the IRDAI, however, on August 26, 2020 issued a Press Release, saying, “It is hereby clarified that not holding a valid PUC certificate is not a valid reason for denying any claim under a motor insurance policy.”
However, not making the availability of a valid PUC compulsory on the date of accident to ensure non-rejection of claims under motor insurance may defeat the purpose of enforcing a strict pollution control on continuous basis. This is because a habitual defaulter may get a PUC certificate issued just before the renewal date of his/her motor insurance, while the fear of rejection of claims would compel the vehicle owner to keep pollution under control always, as an accident may happen anytime.
“We are of the opinion that, while PUC may not be mandatory to claim damages and repair from the insurance company, one must get his vehicle checked regularly to ensure that (a) engine functioning is smooth and it has longer life, (b) you do not contribute to already worsening pollution and (c) be a law abiding citizen and avoid challan by traffic police,” said Ajay Sharma, Director & Designated Partner, InvestmentMitra Advisors LLP.