-Report by Harshit Gupta
In the case of “The Chairman & Managing Director City Union Bank Ltd. & Anr. V. R, Chandramohan“, the apex court held that the burden of proving the deficiency in service is on the aggrieved party, and in the present case, the respondent-aggrieved was not able to prove that there was any deficiency in service.
The present appeal was from the order dated 01.02.2007 passed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Circuit Bench at Chennai hereinafter “National Commission.” The National Commission confirmed the judgment and order dated 23.12.2004 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chennai “State Commission.” The facts behind the case are that the respondent here was a complainant against the appellants before the State Commission for a deficiency in service on the side of banks. The respondent is a Managing Director of “D-Cube Constructions (P) Ltd” and has its office in Chennai. Shri R. Thulasiram and Shri R. Murali were the other directors of the same company. An NRI named Ravindra sent two drafts one for 5 lakhs and another one for 3 lakhs INR. On checking out, the respondent found that the drafts have not been credited to his account. Later the respondent came to know that appellant No. 2 was presented and the same was paid to the City Union Bank, Ram Nagar Branch. The respondent requested that appellant No. 2 to re-credit the amount to his account. Respondent found that another account in the name of “D-Cube Construction” is being operated and the drafts were credited into that account. He thereafter filed a complaint in the State Commission and was decided in the favour of the complainant by granting him rupees 8 lakhs along with one lakh as compensation. Being aggrieved by the order of the State Commission, the appeal was filed in the National Commission and was dismissed by the National Commission.
The counsel for the appellants contended that both the Commissions had erred while giving Judgement and Order in this case as there was no fault or imperfection from the side of the Bank and there was no deficiency in service under section 2(1)(g) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. He relied on cases “Ravneet Singh Bagga V. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Anr. ” and “Branch Manager, Indigo Airlines Kolkata and Anr. V. Kalpana Rani Debbarma and Ors” that the complaint was not even maintainable before the State Commission and the respondent had failed to prove any deficiency in service on the part of the appellants. He also contended that drafts were issued in the name of “D-Cube Construction” only.
The counsel for the respondent contended that two forums had consistently held the appellants liable for the deficiency in service. He further added that the banks are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. He further relied on the cases “Kerala State Cooperative Marketing Federation V. State Bank of India and Ors.” and “Indian Overseas Bank V. Industrial Chain Concern.”
In the current case, the main issue was that was there any deficiency in service as required by the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and in answer to this question the Court held that there was any willful neglect in deficiency in service or imperfection or shortcoming. The Court relied on the appellants’ case of Bagga. The court said that since some disputes were among the director, therefore, the bank cannot hold them liable if they acted bona fide and followed the due procedure. The Court further added that the burden to prove is on the aggrieved party and here the respondent was unable to prove that there was any deficiency in service on the part of the bank. Hence the order of the National Commission and State Commission was set aside.
READ FULL JUDGMENT: https://bit.ly/3KAnvxg