Bank Vs. Gurnam Singh  INSC 1775 (2 December 2009)
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1064 OF 2003 Vijaya Bank ..
Appellant(s) Versus Gurnam Singh .. Respondent(s) O R D E R This appeal, by
special leave is directed against order dated 16th July, 2002, passed by the
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi (for short,
"the National Commission") declining to entertain the appellant's revision
petition under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for short,
material facts, found by the forums below and relevant for the purpose of this
appeal, are as follows : The respondent. (hereinafter referred to as "the
complainant") had a savings bank account with the appellant bank. Somehow
he lost his cheque book containing one unused leaf and the requisition slip
required for issue of a new cheque book. On 24th September, 1999, when the
complainant visited the bank to draw money, he was surprised to find that there
was only a balance of Rs.1682.93 in his account. On enquiries being made, it
transpired that the requisition slip had been used to get a new cheque book
issued from the bank and the left over cheque in the lost cheque book had been
misused to draw an amount of Rs.2,500/- from complainant's account. It was also
discovered that an amount of Rs.3,50,000/- had been withdrawn from the account
by using a cheque leaf of the newly issued cheque book.
failed to get the amount so withdrawn from his account reimbursed by the bank,
the complainant filed a complaint with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal
Forum, U.T. Chandigarh, (for short, "the District Forum") alleging
deficiency in service by the Bank. Upon consideration of the material before
it, which included examination of complainant's account opening form; the
requisition slip; and the cheque in question, vide order dated 4th December,
2001, the District Forum came to the conclusion that there was gross deficiency
in the service by the bank which resulted in loss to the complainant.
District Forum found that specimen signatures on the account opening form and
the cheque used for withdrawal of money were different and more significantly
when cheque in the sum of Rs. 3,50,000/- was presented, balance in the account
of the complainant was only 3,46,682.93/- and yet it was honoured by recording
a debit entry of Rs. 3,317.07/- as recoverable from the complainant.
the District Forum accepted the complaint and directed the bank to credit the
amounts of Rs.2,500/- and Rs. 3,50,000/- less Rs. 5,000/- in the account of the
complainant along with interest @ 10 per cent per annum w.e.f. 17th August,
1999 till the date of the correct entry.
aggrieved, the appellant preferred appeal to the Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission, U.T., Chandigarh (for short, " the State Commission") but
without any success. The State Commission affirmed the findings recorded by the
satisfied, the appellant preferred revision petition before the National
Commission. As afore-stated, the National Commission has dismissed the revision
petition on the ground that both the forums below have recorded a concurrent
finding of fact that there is negligence on the part of the bank in rendering
the services. Hence, the present appeal.
heard Mr. Sanjay R Hegde, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant.
It is strenuously urged by the learned counsel that all the forums below have
erred in ignoring the expert's opinion adduced in evidence by the bank in
support of its stand that there was no forgery in the signatures on the cheques
in question. We do not find any substance in the submission for the simple
reason that the said report was no evidence in the eye of law. Admittedly, the
report was not proved by summoning the expert. The Manager who had merely
annexed the report with his affidavit could not prove the same and, therefore the
forums below were justified in ignoring the report. On a query by the Court as
to how in the absence of any overdraft facility being enjoyed by the
complainant, a cheque for the amount which was in excess of the balance amount
in the account of the complainant could be honoured, learned counsel is unable
to furnish any satisfactory explanation. In our opinion, this fact, highlighted
by the State Commission, by itself is a glaring example of
negligence/deficiency in the service of the bank.
light of the factual scenario as emanating from the orders of the District
forum as also the State Commission and bearing in mind the limited scope of
revisionary jurisdiction of the National Commission, we are of the opinion that
the National Commission was justified in declining to entertain the revision
petition against the said orders. The appeal, being bereft of any merit, is
dismissed accordingly with costs quantified at Rs. 10,000/-.
....................J. [ D.K. JAIN ]
....................J. [ T.S. THAKUR ]
DECEMBER 02, 2009.