Baldev Singh Sekhon, J. -
(1.) THIS appeal has been filed by the appellant/complainant against the order dated 24.1.2012 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (in short "District Forum"), vide which her complaint against the respondents/opposite parties was dismissed. The facts, as stated in the complaint, are that the complainant was having a saving bank account in the Centurian Bank, which was merged in the HDFC Bank, Nawanshahr. The Branch Manager of opposite party No. 1 suggested some profitable schemes to her and her husband so as to invest the amount with them. The Manager also gave assurance that they would get interest @ 14 -15% which would be payable after the lock -in -period of three years and that the policy would also cover the life risk. The opposite parties obtained her signatures on certain prescribed proposal forms on 20.4.2007 and she paid Rs. 62,500 to them. Thereafter, she paid Rs. 62,500 each in the year 2008 and 2009. Thus, in all, she invested Rs. 1,87,500 with them. After the lapse of the lock -in -period of three years, she enquired about the deposited amount and was told that the growth value as on 22.4.2010 was Rs. 1,63,688. She submitted an application on prescribed form for the payment of entire amount. However, she received a cheque dated 7.5.2010 from the opposite parties for Rs. 73,224 only. Thereupon, she served a legal notice dated 14.5.2010 upon the opposite parties asking for the details of the amount paid and provisions of the law on the basis of which, deduction was made from the invested amount of Rs. 1,87,500. The opposite parties, in order to promote their business, allure the customers without explaining the terms and conditions of the policy. She was entitled for refund of Rs. 1,87,500, along with interest. Her earlier complaint filed before the District Forum, was decided on 25.11.2010 and the opposite parties were directed to decide her entire dispute. In the present complaint directions are sought to direct them to pay balance amount of Rs. 1,14,344 along with interest. Damages to the tune of Rs. 2,00,000 were also demanded.
(2.) UPON notice, the opposite parties strongly contested the complaint and filed written reply taking preliminary objections that the present complaint was barred by Section 11 of the CPC, 1908 on the principles of res judicata. The complaint was false, malicious and not maintainable and there was no negligence or deficiency in service on their part. They pleaded that the complainant had filed "surrender request form" and now she cannot be allowed to take benefit of her own wrong at this belated stage. She was only entitled for the "surrender value", which has already been paid to her as per the terms and conditions of the policy. She filled up and signed the proposal form, after going through the terms and conditions of the said policy, i.e. Life Long Unit Linked Plan for an assured sum of Rs. 5,00,000 for which premium of Rs. 62,500 was to be paid annually. She herself approached the opposite parties to surrender the said policy and submitted surrender request form on 3.5.2010. Accordingly, the surrender value of Rs. 73,224 was refunded vide cheque dated 7.5.2010. Her earlier complaint filed before the District Forum was decided on 25.11.2010. Thereafter the entire dispute was decided as per the said order of the District Forum, and vide letter dated 7.2.2011, the detailed calculations of the surrender value were provided to her. It was further pleaded that she had failed to avail the "free look period" of 15 days. Denying all other allegations, dismissal of the complaint was prayed. The parties led their evidence by way of affidavits and documents and the District Forum, after going through the pleadings of the parties and evidence on record, dismissed the complaint.
(3.) AGGRIEVED by this order, the complainant has come up in appeal on the ground that the District Forum has failed to appreciate the fact that she made the payment continuously for three years @ Rs. 62,500 per year. As per the account statement (Ex. C -6) the growth value of the said deposited amount as on 27.4.2010 was Rs. 1,64,452 but, while calculating the surrender value, the opposite parties had deducted 73% of this growth value which was totally unfair and contrary to the provisions of the policy. No reason to justify this huge deduction has been given. There was no such condition in the proposal form to the effect that if the amount is withdrawn after the period of three years, there will be a deduction to the extent of 70 -73% in the surrender value. The District Forum has not appreciated the press note of 'The Tribune' dated 8.8.2010 (Ex. C -10) regarding unfair trade practice being adopted by the insurance companies. The acceptance of the appeal, setting aside of the impugned order and allowing of the complaint was prayed.;