BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM AT PUDUCHERRY
Consumer Complaint No.77/2007
Dated this the 17th day of March, 2008.
J. Kasthuri W/o Shanmugam, residing at No.48/5, AVM Illam, Thiruvalluvar Street, Vishwanathan Nagar, Muthialpet, Puducherry-3.
1. M/s Central Bank of
2. M/s Central Bank of
THIRU A. ASOKAN, B.A., B.L.,
TMT. K.K. RITHA,
FOR THE COMPLAINANT: M/s V.M.P. Mourougayane, John Andrew Macfarlane &
FOR THE OPPOSITE PARTY: Thiru M.V. Vaithilingam, Advocate.
O R D E R
(By Thiru A. Asokan, President.)
This is a complaint u/s 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter called the “Act”) praying to direct the opposite parties to pay Rs.20,000/- as compensation for deficiency in service in withholding her account and costs of Rs.500/-.
2. The case of the complainant is briefly as follows:
The second opposite party is the extension counter of the first opposite party. The complainant is maintaining a savings bank account with the second opposite party in No.16016. On 07.12.2006 when she wanted to withdraw a sum of Rs.2,000/- from her account with the second opposite party, the latter refused on the ground that her account had been withheld. On 12.12.2006 when she again tried to withdraw a sum of Rs.500/- that was also refused on the said ground. Further, the complainant gave a cheque for Rs.2,000/- in favour of one P. Anbalagan and the same was honoured stating that her account was withheld. So, she sent a lawyer’s notice on 23.12.2006 to the second opposite party calling upon the second opposite party to permit her make withdrawals from her account and on 02.01.2007 the second opposite party permitted the complainant to withdraw the amount. From 07.12.2006 to 02.01.2007 the complainant had withheld her account without any reason and this amounts to deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties. The complainant is a destitute, having two children Akshyakumar (3 yrs.) and Sushilkumar (1½ yrs.) and she was put to many difficulties because of the act of the opposite parties. The complainant sent another lawyer’s notice on 27.01.2007 to the opposite parties, which elicited an evasive reply and hence this complaint for redressal.
3. In the reply version filed by the first opposite party and adopted by the second opposite party, it is contended as follows:
The account of the complainant with them in SB.A/c No.16016. is admitted by the opposite parties. However, all the averments relating to attempts by the complainant for withdrawal on 07.12.2006, 12.12.2006, the presentation of the cheque by one Anblagan and their alleged refusal to receive the same are denied. The complainant was their valuable customer since 22.05.2003 and withdrawals on 17.11.206 forRs.1,500/- and honouring a cheque No.142102 issued by the complainant to one Krishnan on 21.12.2006 were permitted. The account of the complainant was never withheld by them at any point of time. Anbalagan had deposited the cheque in his account and the complainant cannot be a consumer in that regard. Thus, there is no deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties and the complaint is liable to be dismissed with exemplary costs u/s 26 of the Act.
4. To substantiate their respective cases, CWs.1 to 3 were examined and Exs.C1 to C10 were marked on the side of the complainant and RW1 was examined and Exs.R1 and R2 were marked on the side of the opposite parties.
5. The points for determination are:
1) Whether the complainant is a ‘consumer’?
2) Whether the opposite parties have committed any deficiency in their service to the complainant?
3) To what relief the parties are entitled?
6. POINT No.1:
Admittedly, the complainant holds a savings bank account with the opposite party’s bank in A/c No.16016 and the same is also vouched by Ex.C1/passbook. The opposite parties have not disputed the status of the complainant as their customer. So, it is clear that the complainant has availed herself of the services of the opposite parties and she is a consumer as defined u/s 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Act.
The point is answered accordingly.
7. POINT No.2:
The case of the complainant is that her account had been withheld by the opposite parties without any reason during the period from 07.12.2006 to 02.01.2007. It is submitted on the side of the complainant that on 07.12.2006 and subsequently on 12.12.2006 when she wished to withdraw amounts from her account with the second opposite party under Exs.C2 & C3/withdrawal forms, the second opposite party refused to make payments stating that her account had been withheld. It is also submitted that she issued a cheque Ex.C4 for Rs.2,000/- in favour of one Anbalagan/CW3 and when CW3 presented the cheque under Ex.C5/pay-in-slip to the second opposite party, the latter refused to receive the same on the ground that the account of the complainant had been withheld. Whereas, the above submissions are countered by the opposite parties by way of total denial. They contend that Exs.C2 to C5 were not at all presented to them, much less refused to be received by them and that they were fabricated for the purpose of the case.
8. A scrutiny of Exs.C2 and C3/withdrawal slips do not bear any seal or sign of the opposite parties thereon. Likewise, Ex.C4/cheque, alleged to have been issued by the complainant in favour of CW3/Anabalagan, also does not bear any insignia of the opposite parties as a proof of its receipt by them. It is argued on the side of the complainant that Ex.C5/pay-in-slip bears the seal of the second opposite party and it is proof of its receipt by the second opposite party. It is to be seen that, if at all Exs.C4 and C5 had been received by the second opposite party, as a routine procedure, it ought to have been initialled by the official of the bank, but no such marks are found in them. Though it is alleged that the second opposite party had refused payments on many times, such refusal has not been corroborated by way of any oral or documentary evidence. It is also not known why the CW3/Anbalagan had not initiated any action either against the opposite parties or against the complainant for no honouring Ex.C5.
9. On the other hand, the opposite parties have produced Ex.R1/letter from the present employer of the complainant, viz. Mahatma Gandhi Medical College Hospital, Pondicherry, wherein it is stated: “Mrs. J. Kasthuri, Ward Incharge, has worked full day on 7th and 12th December 2006 in General shift and has not been granted any permission to go out before the duty hours on those days.” Ex.R1 has not been challenged by the complainant. In such circumstances, no explanation has been offered on the side of the complainant how she was able to present Exs.C2 and C3 on 07.12.2006 and 12.12.2006.
10. Moreover, as against the contention of the complainant that her account had been withheld by the opposite parties, the opposite parties produced Ex.R2, copy of cheque issued by the complainant to one P. Krishna Raj on 14.12.2006 for Rs.1,500/-. A perusal of Ex.C1/passbook of the complainant shows that on 21.12.2006 a debit entry pertaining to Ex.R2 has been made. Learned counsel for the complainant would argue that though Ex.R2 was presented on 21.12.2006 with SBI, Cuddalore, it was honoured only on 02.01.2007 and that the delay was due to withholding of her account by the opposite parties. CW2/Branch Manager of SBI, Cuddalore, was examined to elicit that there was delay by the opposite parties in acting upon Ex.R2 till 02.01.2007. However, CW2 would depose that the above transaction had been mooted out through the SBI clearing house at
This point is answered accordingly.
10. POINT No.3:
In view of the finding in Point No.2 above, the complainant is not entitled to any relief as prayed for and the complaint is liable to be dismissed.
11. In the result, the complaint is dismissed. No costs.
CW1 – Kasthuri (complainant)
CW2 – K. Ponnian, Branch Manager, SBI, Manjakuppam.
CW3 – P.Anbalagan
OPPOSITE PARTY’S WITNESS: NIL
RW1 – R. Latha, Asst. Manager of Central Bank of
Ex.C1 – 28.06.2002 – Copy of passbook of Complainant with opposite party.
Ex.C2 – 07.12.2006 – Copy of withdrawal slip for Rs.2,000/- by complainant.
Ex.C3 – 12.12.2006 – Copy of withdrawal slip for Rs.500/- by complainant.
Ex.C4 – 11.12.2006 – Copy of cheque in favour of Anbalagan by complainant.
Ex.C5 – 12.12.2006 – Copy of pay-in-slip of opposite parties.
Ex.C6 – 23.12.2006 – Copy of advocate notice issued by complainant to opposite party.
Ex.C7 – 27.12.2006 – Copy of postal acknowledgement pertaining to Ex.C6.
Ex.C8 – 27.01.2007 – Copy of advocate notice issued by complainant to opposite party.
Ex.C9 – 19.02.2007 – Copy of reply notice given by complainant to opposite parties.
Ex.C10- 09.01.2008 – Copy of statement of accounts of Krishna Raj issued by SBI, Cuddalore.
OPPOSITE PARTY’S EXHIBIT:
Ex.R1 – 08.01.2008 – Copy of letter issued by
Ex.R2 – 14.12.2006 – Copy of cheque issued by complainant to Krishnaraj.