This is a discussion on UCO Bank, Sector –17-B, Chandigarh through its Branch Manager. within the Judgments forums, part of the General Discussions category; STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, UNION TERRITORY, CHANDGIARH Appeal No.139 of 2009 Sh. Akashdeep Singh S/o Sh. Avtar Singh through ...
STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, UNION TERRITORY, CHANDGIARH
Appeal No.139 of 2009
Sh. Akashdeep Singh S/o Sh. Avtar Singh through his father and Gurdian Sh. Avtar Singh S/o Sh. Brij Singh, R/o House No.2296, Sector-40-C, Chandigarh.
UCO Bank, Sector –17-B, Chandigarh through its Branch Manager.
BEFORE: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PRITAM PAL, PRESIDENT.
MAJ. GEN. S. P. KAPOOR (RETD.), MEMBER.
PRESENT: Sh. Ravinder Pal Singh, Advocate for the appellants.
Sh. Varun Chawla, Advocate for the respondent.
MAJ. GEN. S. P. KAPOOR (RETD.), MEMBER.
1. This is an appeal against order of District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II, U.T., Chandigarh (for short hereinafter to be referred as District Forum) dated 10.2.2009 passed in complaint case No.927 of 2008 : Sh. Akashdeep Singh Vs. UCO Bank.
2. Briefly stated the case of the complainant is that the Complainant in a roadside accident in 1998, became 100% disabled and since then he had been bed ridden. The father of the complainant, it was averred, stood as legal guardian of his son (complainant) through court to pursue the cases and write other letters on his behalf. Thereafter, the complainant filed MACT case and the court granted compensation to him and the said amount was directed to be deposited in some nationalized bank and it was further directed that interest of the same be given to the complainant for medication and other necessary items as he was bed ridden. Subsequently, in appeal, the Hon’ble High Court directed the insurance company to deposit 75% of the compensation amount, which was deposited in the State Bank of Patiala. As per the complainant, on coming to know from an advertisement in the newspaper that UCO bank was offering 9.75% interest on F.D, the complainant made a request for shifting the FDR to UCO bank, Sector –17-B, Chandigarh, so that, he could get higher interest. Accordingly, his request was accepted and the said FDR was transferred from State Bank of India to UCO Bank, Sector –17, Chandigarh to fetch interest at the rate of 9.75% but later on, the Complainant came to know that actually, the OP Bank was paying the interest @9.25%p.a. Alleging this to be as a deficiency in service on the part of OP, the complainant had filed the present complaint.
3. The version of OP on the other hand is that the Complainant was being paid monthly interest as per the operative circular (R-4) and thus, there was no deficiency in service or unfair trade practice on the part of OP. It was pleaded by the OP that inadvertent mentioning of the rate of interest on the FDR i.e.9.75% instead of 9.25% would not make it liable to pay interest beyond the Circular, effective as on date. The OP further asserted that the Complainant had been receiving interest @8.25% p.a. from the State Bank of Patiala Branch and even the Ombudsman of the Reserve Bank of India had rejected the claim of the complainant. Pleading no deficiency in service or unfair trade practice on its part, OP prayed for dismissal of the complaint.
4. The learned District Forum in its analysis of the complaint has observed that it was evident on record that the OP is a Nationalized Bank and is governed by the circulars issued by the Reserve Bank of India and the head office of the UCO Bank from time to time. It further recorded that the rate of interest on the Fixed Deposits was informally prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India, which could not be changed by individual banks. In the view of the learned District Forum, in the present case, the rate of interest was inadvertently mentioned on the FDR as 9.75% instead of 9.25%. The learned District Forum further recorded that the complainant was even asked to hand over the FDR to correct the rate of interest mentioned in the FDR but instead of handing over the same for correction, he filed complaint with the Banking Ombudsman. The learned District Forum further observed that when the complainant approached and opened the Saving Bank Account with the OP on 19.06.2007, at that time, Circular dated 09.04.2007 was operative but when the proceeds for Fixed Deposit were deposited on 09.07.2007, then at that time, Circular dated 28.06.2007 was in operation. Guided by the law settled by the National Consumer Commission in the case of “Kokan Mercantile Cooperative Bank Ltd. Vs. Abdul Sattar Ahmed Bandre”, 1998 (2) CPC 351, the learned District Forum finding no merit in the complaint, dismissed the same with no orders as to costs.
5. Aggrieved by the said order of learned District Forum, the complainant has filed the present appeal. The appeal having been taken on board, notice was sent to the respondent/OP and record of complaint case was summoned from the District Forum. Sh. Ravinder Pal Singh, Advocate appeared on behalf of the appellant/complainant whereas Sh. Varun Chawla, Advocate represented the respondent/OP.
6. Sh. Ravinder Pal Singh, Advocate, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the complainant is a 100% disabled child and therefore, the FDR was taken with the OP Bank to earn higher rate of interest for looking after the child. He also emphasized that no intimation had been given by the Bank to the complainant that the rate of interest had been reduced from 9.75% to 9.25% and therefore, he prayed that the Bank be directed to pay the complainant rate of interest as entered in the FDR of the complainant and allow the appeal.
7. In response, Sh. Sanjiv Gupta, Advocate, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that the order of the learned District Forum was well reasoned and justified. He emphatically submitted that nationalized banks cannot go beyond the directives issued by the Reserve Bank of India in the fixation of rate of interest. He categorically reiterated that the operative rate of interest on the date the FDR was opened i.e. 9.7.2007, was 9.25% and entering the rate of interest as 9.75% in the FDR was a bonafide mistake on the part of the Bank officials, which is clearly condonable as per law settled on the subject. He, therefore, prayed that the appeal be dismissed.
8. We have gone through the record on file as well as the impugned order and have heard the learned counsel for the parties.
9. A perusal of evidence on record and the impugned order does bring out that the rate of interest advertised by the Bank was 9.75% and the same is also endorsed on the FDR. However, it is also on record that the rate of interest at the time of publishing the advertisement in deed was 9.75% and the same was only changed on 30.6.2007. Even when the complainant had opened the Savings Bank Account with the OP on 19.6.2007, the rate of interest was 9.75%. It is, however, also on record that vide Circular (Annexure R-4), the rate of interest had been reduced from 9.75% to 9.25%. Since this was a recent decrease in the rate of interest, we are in consonance with the view held by the learned District Forum that it was a bonafide mistake on the part of official of the Bank who endorsed 9.75% as rate of interest on the FDR instead of 9.25%. Thus, as per the authority of Hon’ble National Commission quoted by the learned District Forum in the impugned order, there is no infirmity in the impugned order and therefore, it does not require any interference. However, since the matter pertains to a 100% medically disabled child, we appeal to the good conscious of the Bank to grant some relief to the complainant as ex-gratia payment, if the same is provided for under the rules and regulations of the Bank.
10. Consequently, the appeal is dismissed and the impugned order is upheld with the above observations.
11. Copies of this order be sent to the parties free of charge.
Announced in open court.
7th July 2009.
[JUSTICE PRITAM LAL]
[MAJ. GEN. S. P. KAPOOR(RETD.)]