Decided on February 18,2009

Harbhagat Singh Appellant


Irshad Hussain, President - (1.) THIS is complainants appeal against the order dated 13.08.2007 passed by the District Forum, Dehradun, dismissing the consumer complaint No. 17/2004.
(2.) COMPLAINANT Sh. Harbhagat Singh and his wife Smt. Surjeet Kaur, hired Safe Deposit Vault of opposite party - Central Bank of India, Branch F.R.I., Dehradun in the year 1985 at a rent of Rs. 50/ - per year. Notice by the bank was sent to the complainant and his wife, whereby it was alleged that the rent from 11.04.1997 has not been paid and they were called upon to pay arrears of rent amounting to Rs. 3,500/ - with interest within four days of the receipt of the notice, failing which, the locker shall be broken on their risk. Complainant claimed that the locker was taken at a rent of Rs. 50/ - per year and only at that rate, the bank was legally obliged to lay claim for arrears and that the notice sent was illegal and unjustified. The complaint was, thus, filed on 06.02.2004, with the prayer that the allotment of the locker in his name, be directed to be cancelled and the bank be further directed to receive rent at the agreed rate of Rs. 50/ - per year till 19.09.2001, the date when the bank was intimated that the locker is lying vacant and unused. Complainant also claimed compensation of Rs. 5,000/ - and cost of Rs. 2,000/ -.
(3.) COMPLAINANT was contested, mainly on the grounds that the complainant has no right to file the complaint before the Consumer Forum, as he was not entitled to have the relief as claimed; that the complainant was liable to make the payment of the arrears as per the prevailing rate of rent of the bank and was also liable to make the payment of interest thereon and that the complainant was liable to pay the arrears of rent of the locker till the date of surrender of the same. Memorandum of letting of locker was placed on the record of the District Forum and on perusal of the same and other material on record, the District Forum accepted the banks contention that the complainant was not a consumer of the bank, in view of the fact that the relations between the complainant and bank were that of lessee and lessor, as also envisaged by Clause 13 of the memorandum of letting of locker. It was, thus, held that the consumer complaint was not legally maintainable and was liable to be dismissed. The District Forum also observed that although the locker was let out at a rent of Rs. 50/ - per year in the year 1985, the bank was entitled to enhance the rent at the prevalent rate, according to the rules applicable thereto and further that the complainant was liable to pay the rent till the date of the surrender of the locker to the bank. With these observations and finding, complaint was dismissed by the impugned order.;

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