Dev Raj Arora son of Shri Ram Pal Arora, resident of 154, Vishal Nagar, Pakhowal Road, Ludhiana.
1. State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, Madhopuri Branch, Ludhiana through its Branch Manager.
2. State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, Zonal Office, New Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi, through its Zonal Manager.
3. State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, Head office, Tilak Marg, Jaipur, through its Managing Director.
O R D E R
1. Complainant who is an employee of the OP-Bank, under policy of the bank obtained a housing loan of Rs. 1,50,000/- on 7.12.1992 at concessional interest rate. He avers in this complaint under section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 that for availing loan provided all relevant documents to the OP-bank, who wrote letter dated 4.1.1993 sanctioning loan of Rs.1,50,000/- carrying interest as per circular dated 6.12.1990 of the Head Office of OP-Bank.
OP-bank after realising margin money of Rs. 15,000/- issued cheque dated 6.1.1993 in favour of his vendor Sh. Joginder Kumar son of Sh. Gyan Chand and deputed clerk to clerk to reach the office of Sub Registrar, Ludhiana, where the deed was to be registered. The sale deed was registered on 7.1.1993 and OP-bank took original sale deed and kept the same with them as equitable mortgage. Thereafter, OP-Bank started deducting EMI of Rs. 835/- from his salary. After lapse of 10 years, opposite party intimated to the complainant that original title deed is not available on record, through relevant documents qua loan were audited by auditors of the bank.
They planted false story to harass the complainant that had not submitted the original title deed. In the year 1993, when the complainant submitted specimen-A Form, they never informed of non availability of the original sale deed on the record. Opposite party intentionally took all harms to the complainant by charging penal interest leveling allegations of non availability of original title deed on the record. Then in Jan. 2008, they debited Rs.4,95,034/- in his loan account without giving any intimation or information to him.
Such act on their part was arbitrary and illegal causing agony and sufferance to the complainant. Because, loan was fully repaid by the complainant during 15 years by way of E.M.Is. Therefore, for resorting to such unfair trade practice he claimed direction against the opposite party to revert the entry of Rs. 4,95,034/- in his loan account, return his original title deed and pay him compensation of Rs.500,000/- along with litigation cost of Rs.11,000/-.
2. Opposite party averred in reply that complaint is not maintainable, complainant is not a consumer, so not entitled to file the complaint. He is estopped by act and conduct to come to the Fora. He is a suspended employee of the opposite party who flouted with impunity the terms and conditions governing the housing loan.
Obtaining housing loan as employee of opposite party by the complainant is conceded but averred that he did not deposit the sale deed while taking the loan and made lame excuses time and again with ulterior motives. Averred that equitable mortgage by the bank employee taking housing loan was pre condition for grant of loan. He as such violated banking guidelines and was rightly charged commercial rate of interest on his housing loan. So, there is no deficiency in service on their part and the complaint being merit less deserves dismissal.
3. In order to prove their respective versions, both the parties led their evidence by way of affidavits and documents.
4. We have heard the arguments addressed by the ld. counsel for the parties, gone through file, scanned the documents and other material on record.
5. It is admitted that the complainant being employee of the OP-Bank applied for housing loan of Rs.1,50,000/- which was sanctioned in his favour vide communication annexure 2 dated 4.1.1993. Loan was sanctioned on security of equitable mortgage by depositing the title deed and lien was also kept on provident fund balance.
6. It is in aforesaid back drop claim and grievance of the complainant that after sanctioning of the loan in his favour, opposite party issued cheque annexure 3 dated 6.1.1993 in the name of his vendor and thereafter sale deed of the property was registered in presence of representative of the OP-bank namely Sh. Gian Chand Clerk. The original sale deed was taken by opposite party-bank through Sh. Gian Chand to fulfill requirement of agreed equitable mortgage of the property purchased with the loan amount. Complainant in support of this plea has filed his own affidavit and the opposite party has not placed on the record affidavit of said Sh. Gian Chand their officer, who was working in the bank in managing capacity at the time of disbursement of the loan amount in the year 1993 to throw the light whether equitable mortgage was created or not.
Though affidavit Ex.RX of Sh. R.K. Kapoor manager of the Bank is filed in support of the defence of the opposite party. But appears he has no personal knowledge of the matter as he has not stated working as Manager in the year 1992-93 in the Bank, when the loan by the bank was sanctioned.
7. It is in such scenario we need to conclude whether title deeds of the property purchased was deposited by the complainant with the opposite party or not.
8. The first communication that original sale deed was not in possession of the opposite party is dated 25.2.2003 annexure 8. Vide that communication, opposite party intimated the complainant that the original title deeds of the property mortgaged are not in their record and required the complainant to submit the certified copies thereof. Vide communication dated 30.1.2007, it was conveyed to the complainant that irregularity of not depositing title deed is being pointed since last 3-4 audit reports and that if not deposited would be liable to pay penal interest.
9. This letter annexure 10 dated 30.1.2007 reflecting that audit party had pointed non existence of title deeds on the record. This was done not once, but 3-4 times. None of those audit reports have seen light of the day. Further more, communication annexure 11 dated 2.1.2008 shows that one official of the bank Sh. S.K. Mongia denied receiving title deed by the complainant and requested the complainant to furnish the same to the bank otherwise would be liable to pay commercial rate or interest. Unfortunately, such person Sh. S.K. Mongia has also not been examined by the opposite party. Rest of the communications annexure 14 and 15 pertain to the year 2008.
10. Aforesaid sequence of events spells that after about 10 years of granting loan, opposite party for the first time took defence that the original title deeds of the purchased property by way of equitable mortgage were not deposited by the complainant with the OP-bank. Whereas complainant has named official of the bank to whom the same was delivered but they failed to examine him. Resultantly, we believe the version of the complainant that had entrusted the original title deed to the opposite party.
It is not out of place to mention that for certain misconduct or dereliction of duty, opposite parties has charged the complainant vide charge sheet annexure 13 dated 18.4.2007. This means, he is not in good books of the bank and due to such reason and excuse commercial, rate or interest on housing loan from the complainant was raised. Apparent to note that in that charge sheet, it is not charge against the complainant that failed to furnish the title deed by way of security with the bank.
11. We feel that interest of the bank is not affected at all as the complainant is still their employee as they are recovering EMIs from him. But opposite party in these circumstances certainly would be guilty of resorting to unfair trade practice by charging the complainant with commercial rate of interest in his loan account instead of agreed rate of interest. Higher rate of interest claimed as penal interest as assessed by the opposite party from the loan account of the complainant by debiting in Jan.2008for Rs.4,95,0-34/- to his account consequently, would not be only unjust but arbitrary and illegal as well.
12. We consequently, allow this complaint and direct opposite party to revert the entry of Rs.4,95,034/- along with interest charged by opposite party as penal interest qua his loan account and enter the loan amount due in terms of the original loan agreement under which complainant is liable to pay only agreed interest as per banking instructions by taking that conditions of the loan agreement were not infringed by the complainant. For thrusting this litigation, causing harassment to him, OP-bank ordered to pay compensation of Rs.10,000/-(Rs. Ten Thousands only) and litigation cost of Rs.2000(Rs. Two Thousands only) to the complainant.
However, we are not passing any order for return of original deed as it appears that not on record of the bank and as it advise the complainant may obtain certified copy of the original seed deed from the office of the Sub Registrar, Ludhiana where it was registered. Compliance of the order be made within 45 days of the receipt of copy of order, which be made available to the parties free of costs.