The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the State Bank of India and its zonal office in Nizamuddin for filing a false and frivolous complaint against a customer, besides deficiency in services. The case pertains to one Rahimunnisa Shahana, who, in her complaint, stated that the bank had not blocked her ATM card despite requests to do so after it was stolen, along with the envelope that had her PIN number. In the process, she alleged, she lost Rs 1.29 lakh.
The complainant alleged that she had a savings account at SBI’s Nizamuddin branch. After receiving her ATM card, she had decided to use it for the first time on March 13, 2006. That day, while she was sitting in her car with the ATM card and the leaflet with the PIN details inside her purse, someone picked up her purse and fled. Shahana, in her complaint, said that she rushed to the bank branch in Nizamuddin the moment she realised that her purse had been stolen. The officials helped her lodge a complaint on the SBI helpline. A few days later, she said, she got a call from a bank official, who told her that her card would be blocked.
However, she alleged that when she visited the branch again on March 29, she learnt that her entire deposit amount of Rs 1.29 lakh had been withdrawn through the ATM card between March 13 and March 21, 2006.
After filing a police complaint, she moved the New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. The forum, in its order in March 2012, directed the bank to restore in her account the amount of Rs 1.29 lakh with interest, and Rs 5,000 as case cost.
Soon after, the bank filed an appeal against the order in the state commission. Counsel for the bank told the commission that Shahana was “negligent” as she was carrying the ATM card with the envelope containing the PIN number, and that it was against the ATM’s instruction manual. The counsel also said the complainant approached the bank only on March 29, 2006. Upholding the district forum order, Judicial Member N P Kaushik of the commission asked the bank to pay her interest from March 2003 on the amount of Rs 1.29 lakh at the rate of nine per cent. “Instead of making payment to the complainant, the bank has made a false and frivolous complaint. The same is dismissed with a cost of Rs 1 lakh,”said the judge.