Expunge remarks against HDFC Bank: Supreme Court orders consumer body

NCC had reproached HDFC Bank for putting India’s reputation at stake by not activating the debit card of a couple going abroad.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: October 14, 2016 2:53 pm

Expressing its displeasure at the choice of words by the National Consumer Commission (NCC), the Supreme Court has ordered removal of all the remarks against the HDFC Bank, which was reproached by the consumer body for putting India’s reputation at stake by not activating the debit card of a couple travelling abroad.

By a recent order, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and R K Agrawal dismissed the appeal moved by HDFC Bank against the consumer commission’s order and said that although the bank would have to pay Rs 5 lakh in damages to the couple on account of its negligence, the strictures shall remain expunged.

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“…we are of the opinion that it is not appropriate for the National Commission to have used such strong expressions against the petitioner as it has been done in its order. These are therefore expunged,” said the top court. The order has come as a huge relief for the Bank, which was slammed by the apex consumer body for having “no love and respect for India” because it did not activate the debit card of the couple and failed to help even though “Indians were trapped in a foreign country.”

The Commission was approached by the couple, which wanted compensation enhanced from Rs 50,000. Chandigarh-based senior advocate Mohinderjit Singh Sethi and his wife Rajmohini Sethi had in 2008 opened a joint account in HDFC Bank after depositing Rs 1.5 lakh, and the Bank issued a debit card with an assurance that they would face no difficulty in foreign countries. But during their stay in Thailand and Singapore, the card did not work and their repeated complaints to the branch manager concerned did not yield any result. The couple faced a lot of difficulties due to lack of money till they returned home.

The NCC censured the Bank for “negligence” and “passivity”.

Moving against the order, HDFC Bank pointed out that the debit card could not become operational because the documents had anomalies in the date of birth of the woman applicant.

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