Tel. HC: Constitutional Validity of Section 38(2) of RP Act and Rule 5.7.1 of ECI’s Handbook Upheld  ||  MP HC: Power Exercised u/s 319 of CrPC Must Come Before Acquittal Order in Case of Joint Result  ||  Del. HC: Order of CIC Directing CBDT to Give Information Regarding Ram Janmabhoomi Trust Set Aside  ||  Ker HC: In Non-Performance of Agreement, Buyer to Get Charge Over Property For Paying Purchase Price  ||  Rajasthan High Court: Reinstate Ayurvedic Doctors Who Haven’t Attained 62 Years of Age  ||  Rajasthan High Court: Accrual Time For Taxing Income to Be Postponed Till Dispute’s Adjudication  ||  Supreme Court: Distributor Not An Agent But An Independent Contractor  ||  Ker. HC: No Member of Hindu Public Can Claim to Perform Services That Only Archakas Can Perform  ||  Bom HC: Emp. to Ensure That Minor Mistakes Due to Candidate’s Disability Shouldn’t Lead to Job Loss  ||  SC Criticises Centre For Not Specifying Range of Rates For Treatment in Pvt. Hospitals & Clinics    

State Bank of India v. Pushpakala R. Jimulia and Ors. - (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) (11 Nov 2016)

Maintenance of regular savings bank account and availing services provided by Bank covered under definition of consumer

MANU/CF/0610/2016

Consumer

Issue in present case is relating to deficiency in service on part of Bank in denying payment of cheque and resultantly, financial loss had been caused to complainant. District Forum ordered the dismissal of the consumer complaint on the ground that the complainants were not consumers. Being aggrieved against the said order of the District Forum, the complainants challenged the same by way of an appeal before the State Commission, which partly allowed the same vide impugned order, and found the Bank deficient in rendering service to the respondent and directed them to pay an amount of Rs. 7 lakhs as compensation for mental agony and negligence on their part. Being aggrieved against said order, OP Bank is before this Commission by way of present revision petition.

In present case, complainants are maintaining a regular savings bank account with OP Bank since 2005. It is clear, therefore, that they have been availing themselves of services provided by Bank and hence, are consumers vis-à-vis the Bank. An account holder having a savings bank account may issue a cheque for any purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial. Since, complainants were joint holders of a savings bank account with Bank, they are definitely covered under definition of consumer vis-à-vis the Bank. It is apparent that complainants cannot be held to be non-consumers, but as stated already, even if the cheque was issued for a commercial purpose, the basic issue concerning the dishonour of the cheque by the Bank has to be adjudicated independently.

Cheque was returned to the HDFC Bank with a written memo on the plea that the signatures of the complainant on the said cheque did not match with those maintained in the record of the Bank. There are two reports given by two different finger-print experts on the issue of the said signatures. The expert produced by the complainants says that the signatures on the cheque did tally with their standard signatures, whereas the expert produced by the Bank gives an opposite version. In this kind of situation, it is difficult to place reliance on either of the two reports. However, natural implication/presumption that emerges after considering these two conflicting reports is that doubt could have developed in the minds of the dealing officials of the petitioner Bank, in so far as the authenticity of the signatures on the cheque was concerned. In their good judgment, the said official may have decided to take the safer path and decided to return the cheque, rather than honouring the same. It has nowhere been alleged or proved that there was any wrong intention on the part of the said officials that they decided to dishonour the cheque, which proved harmful to the interest of complainants.

Action of officials of Petitioner Bank in dishonouring said cheque did not amount to deficiency in service on their part. It could best be termed as an error of judgment, but in absence of any evidence of wrongful intention on part of these officials, Bank is held not liable to be penalised for dishonour of cheque. Orders passed by consumer fora below were set aside.

Tags : PENALTY   CHEQUE   PAYMENT  

Share :        

Disclaimer | Copyright 2024 - All Rights Reserved