Date of Filing:07.11.2008
Date of Order : 13.03.2009
BEFORE THE I ADDITIONAL AND RURAL DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM SESHADRIPURAM BANGALORE - 20
Dated: 13th DAY OF MARCH 2009
Smt.C.V. Rajamma, B.Sc., LL.B., PGDPR, Member
Sri. Bajentri H.M, B.A, LL.B., President
COMPLAINT NO. 12 OF 2008
Ganapathi Souhardha Credit
Co-Operative Limited, Court Road,
Doddaballapura – 561 203,
Represented by its Honorary
No.480, ASE Complex,
Doddaballapura – 561203,
Bangalore Rural District.
The complainant has prayed for a direction to the Opposite Party to pay the cheque amount of Rs.3,33,305/-, on the following grounds:-
2. The case of the complainant is as under:-
The complainant is a Credit Co-Operative Bank. The Account Holder of the Bank had deposited cheques in their accounts. In the normal course, the complainant has to send the cheques to the concerned Bank for encashment. The complainant had entrusted a cover containing twenty six cheques of the total value of Rs.3,33,305/- to the Opposite Party for delivery to State Bank of Mysore, Magadi under receipt No.423/2003. The Opposite Party collected the fee as per rate fixed on 05.06.2008. The Account Holders demanded the cheque amount which they had presented to their accounts. The complainant wrote a letter dated:20.06.2008 demanded the Opposite Party to return the cover or to send the same to State Bank of Mysore, Magadi. The Opposite Party gave reply stating that a Bag containing documents of Kunigal and Magadi has been lost at Kunigal Office on 06.06.2008 and a police complaint has been lodged in that regard. When the account holders demanded for the payment of the cheque amount, the complainant paid the same out of its account as all of them are farmers. The Opposite Party failed to return the cover containing the cheques. Legal notice dated:08.08.2008 was issued to the Opposite Party demanding payment of the cheque amount and damages. But the Opposite Party gave untenable reply. Hence, the complaint.
3.In the version, the contention of the Opposite Party is as under:-
The complaint is misconceived and the claim is untenable. The complainant did not disclose the contents of the envelope and value of the goods. The cover entrusted by the complainant and other envelops approximately 200 were lost in transit. They have lodged a police complaint dated:19.06.2008 in Kunigal Police Station regarding the loss of the envelops. The police are investigating into the matter. The complainant has not disclosed as to how it has arrived at Rs.3,33,305/-. The position of the alleged cheques is also not disclosed. The complainant could have given necessary instruction to the bank for stopping payment of those cheques. Even after coming to know about the loss of the envelope, the complainant has failed to take necessary steps to avoid misuse of the cheques. The Opposite Party had given instructions to the Bank to stop payment in respect of 26 lost cheques, details of which were supplied by the complainant and accordingly the Bank has stopped payment of those cheques. The complainant can collect fresh cheques from the Farmers. Even otherwise if the consignment is lost or undelivered, the liability of the Opposite Party is restricted to Rs.100/- only as per the terms specified in the courier slip. Unless the complainant disclosed the details of the consignment it not entitled to claim any compensation. On these grounds, the Opposite Party has prayed for dismissal of the complaint.
4.In support of the respective contentions, both parties have filed affidavits and have produced copies of documents. The complainant has replied the interrogatories tendered by the Opposite Party. Both parties have filed written arguments.
5. The points for consideration:-
1.Whether the complainant has proved deficiency in service on the part of the Opposite Party?
2.Whether the complainant entitled to the relief prayed for in the complaint?
6.Our findings are:-
Point No.1 : In the Affirmative
7. The fact that the complainant had entrusted a cover to the Opposite Party for delivery to State Bank of Mysore at Magadi and the said cover is lost is admitted. This lapse on the part of the Opposite Party in not delivering the cover to the consignee clearly amounts to deficiency in service and as such the complainant becomes entitled to claim compensation. But the contention of the complainant that the cover entrusted to the Opposite Party contained 26 cheques presented by the account holders does not find support from any material. In other words, the complainant has not produced any documents disclosing the details of the cheques contained in the cover entrusted to the Opposite Party. Therefore it is not known how the complainant has arrived at Rs.3,33,305/- as the amount payable by the Opposite Party or as the amount covered by 26 cheques contained in the cover entrusted to the Opposite Party. In the absence of such material, the very contention of the complainant that the cover entrusted to the Opposite Party contained 26 cheques of the total value of Rs.3,33,305/- itself becomes doubtful. According to the complainant, the cover containing the cheques was entrusted to the Opposite Party on 05.06.2008. By the letter dated:14.06.2008, the Opposite Party informed the complainant that the consignment has been lost at their Kunigal Office on 06.06.2008. In that event, as a prudent person it was necessary for the complainant to give instructions to the Payee Bank to stop the payment of those cheques. In the version, it is contended by the Opposite Party that on the basis of the details given by the complainant they issued stop payment instructions to the Bank and accordingly the payment has been stopped by the Drawee Bank. In that event, no loss is caused to the complainant on account of the loss of cheques. Merely because the cheques are lost, the liability of the drawer of the cheque is not discharged. It is possible for the complainant to get fresh cheques from the drawers and present the same to the Payee Bank. That apart as could be seen from the copy of the courier receipt produced by the complainant, contents of the consignment so also its value is not disclosed while entrusting the consignment to the Opposite Party. In that event, as per the conditions mentioned in the receipt, the liability of the Opposite Party is only to the extent of Rs.100/- in respect of the lost consignment. This view also finds support from the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of BHARATHI KNITTING COMPANY V/S DHL WORLDWIDE EXPRESS COURIER DIVISION OF AIRFREIGHT LIMITED reported in AIR 1996 SC2508, on which the learned counsel for the Opposite Party relied upon. Therefore, when the complainant has not disclosed the contents of the consignment and the value thereof at the time of entrustment of the consignment to the Opposite Party, the liability of the Opposite Party cannot be more than Rs.100/- as per the contract between the parties. In these circumstances, we hold that the complainant is entitled to claim Rs.100/- from the Opposite Party towards loss of consignment and not Rs.3,33,305/- as claimed. In the result, we pass the following:-
Point No.2 : As per final order
- The complaint is ALLOWED IN PART.
- The Opposite Party is directed to pay compensation of Rs.100/- towards loss of consignment and cost of Rs.500/- to the complainant. Compliance of this order shall be made within eight weeks from the date of communication.
- Send a copy of this order to both parties free of costs immediately.
- Pronounced in the Open Forum on this the 13th DAY OF MARCH 2009.