Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed a public sector bank to pay Rs 50,000 to two brothers residing at Manimajra for delaying the release the funds deposited by their father in the bank,totalling Rs 19.09 lakh.
Presiding member of the commission Neena Sandhu and member Jagroop Singh Mahal have directed the bank to pay the fathers funds to the sons,and also pay interest on the due amount at the rate of 12 per cent per annum since March 2011. Interestingly,the bank had deducted Rs 1,500 from the complainants account as fee for the banks empanelled lawyer for this particular case. The Commission has directed that this amount be refunded to the brothers. The bank has also been directed to pay litigation costs of Rs 10,000 to the brothers.
The brothers,Manoj and Vipin Gupta,had filed a complaint in the Commission that their father AL Gupta,who was the sole proprietor of George Printing Works at Manimajra,had opened various saving accounts,current accounts and kept funds in the shape of FDRs with the Manimajra branch of the bank. After their fathers death,the brothers approached the branch for release of his funds lying in the various accounts.
The bank directed them to get the succession certificate. After getting the certificate through the civil court in March 2011,the brothers again approached the bank. The bank informed them that their claim had been scrutinized through their empanelled lawyer,who had raised some objections regarding it.
In April 2011,the bank debited Rs 1,500 from the account of one of the brothers as the lawyers fee. The brothers immediately complained to the branch in this regard,but the matter was not resolved. Finally,the brothers knocked the doors of the Consumer Commission for justice.
In its reply,the bank claimed that the brothers could not be regarded as consumers vis-a-vis the bank. The bank officials added that the accounts of the brothers were credited with Rs 26,370 each. They were asked to get the original guarantee papers from BSNL so that the FDRs could be released to them. The bank claimed that the balance amount of the FDRs was not released to the brothers,as it was pledged on account of bank guarantees issued by the bank to BSNL for margin money.
After considering the case,the Commission concluded that there was no justification in the direction given by the bank to the brothers,to get the original guarantee papers from BSNL. The Commission said it was for the bank to get these guarantee papers from BSNL,and the brothers should not have been told to get it.
The Commission added that if the bank had engaged a lawyer to look into the case,it should have paid the lawyers fee from the bank funds,and not through the account of the complainants. On the basis of these arguments,the Commission concluded that the bank had been deficient in service towards the two brothers,and directed it to compensate them accordingly.