Decided on December 29,2009

Senior Superintendent Of Post Office, Nainital And Anr Appellant
Neema Bisht Respondents


- (1.) OFFICERS of the service provider postal department filed this appeal against the order dated 17.7.2007 passed by the District Forum, Nainital, allowing consumer complaint No. 140 of 2006, whereby the appellants were directed to pay sum of Rs. 86,000 with interest @ 6% p.a. and Rs.1,500 as litigation expenses to the complainant, to make up the loss occasioned to the complainant on account of withdrawal of sum of Rs. 86,000 on the basis of a forged cheque from her Saving Bank Account No. 532987 maintained with the Main Post Office, Mallital, Nainital. The District Forum rejected the defence plea of the appellants that the complainant was negligent in not reporting the loss of her cheque book and no deficiency in service has thus, been made by the appellants on account of withdrawal of the amount from the account of the complainant.
(2.) WE have heard the learned counsel for the parties and have carefully considered their submissions in the light of the facts, circumstances and legal aspects of the case and at the outset, it may be stated that there being no force in this appeal, the same is liable to be dismissed.
(3.) THE reasons for our decision are that the submission of the learned counsel for the appellants that the complainant had shown utmost negligence in not keeping safely her cheque book and further not reporting the loss of the same in time to the appellants and was, therefore, has had no legal right to allege deficiency in service on the part of the appellants in regard to the encashment of the alleged forged cheque for withdrawal of sum of Rs.86,000, is not legally sustainable. It would be too much to expect that missing or loss of the cheque book would at once came to be known by its holder and in absence of knowledge of loss or missing of the cheque book and use of a cheque leaf from a missing or lost cheque book for illegal withdrawal of the money, could not be taken to deprive the account holder from alleging deficiency in service on the part of the post office or bank, as the case may be, in the matter of illegal withdrawal by forging such a negotiable instrument by any unscrupulous person. Even otherwise, in this case, complainant came up with the positive allegation that on loss of her cheque book, she had made oral complaint at the Main Post Office and despite this, the money had been withdrawn from her account on the basis of a forged cheque, Therefore, there can be no gain saying that the appellants were not at all entitled to get any benefit out of any alleged negligence or inaction on the part of the complainant in giving intimation of the loss of the cheque book in writing. Further, the appellants themselves, on being informed in writing by the complainant about the illegal withdrawal of sum of Rs. 86,000 from her account on the basis of a forged cheque from her lost cheque book, took steps to have the signatures on the disputed cheque compared with the admitted and specimen signatures of the complainant by handwriting expert of the Government Forensic Lab. and as a result whereof, it had been affirmed that the signatures on the forged cheque were different from the specimen and admitted signatures of the complainant (Km.) Neema Bisht. The District Forum rightly considered this important aspect of the matter in accepting the complainant's claim that sum of Rs.86,000 had been withdrawn from her account by -means of a forged cheque by an unscrupulous person. Since reference has been made to the report of the handwriting expert, it would be pertinent to mention that Science of Identification of handwriting is well established as an aid of discovery of truth before Courts or adjudicatory forums and when a positive report .had been received in regard to the forged cheque of Rs.86,000, the expert evidence warranted to be made basis for recording a finding against the postal department.;

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