Decided on July 25,2006



- (1.)THIS appeal has been filed by the appellant under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as 1986 Act ) against the order dated 22.5.1997 passed by the learned District Forum, Jaipur I, Jaipur whereby the complaint of the complainant -appellant was dismissed.
(2.)THE brief facts giving rise to this appeal are that on 6.11.1992 the complainant had sent a consignment of hand knotted woollen carpets valued at US $ 8828.28, meant for M/s. Galaxy Overseas Inc., California by sea through M/s. International Passage and Cargo Services, Mumbai who is local shipping agent of Seino Container Lines. The complainant has stated that in fact he had sent two bundles of goods, of different orders, but had packed both the bundles in a single consignment because the consignor and consignee were the same. The goods were shipped from Mumbai to Los Angeles. Thereafter, the complainant handed over the Invoice, GR form, Hundi for US $ 8828.30 and Bill of Lading dated 6.11.1992 to its bankers, State Bank of India, Jaipur, the respondent No. 2. The complainant requested the O.P. No. 2 to send the documents to the State Bank of India at Los Angeles with instructions to present the same to the buyer, M/s. Galaxy Overseas Inc. on 60 days D.P. basis and collect their charges and payment.
(3.)THE consignment reached Los Angeles. It is alleged by the complainant -appellant that the consignment was delivered to M/s. Galaxy Overseas Inc. by the State Bank of India, Los Angeles without receiving payment of the goods from them. This was only possible when the said State Bank of India would have delivered the documents to the purchaser. Assuming, however, that the purchaser had taken the delivery of the goods without the documents then it was the duty of the respondents to return all the documents to the complainant. The respondents neither paid the cost of the goods nor returned the documents to the complainant and as such committed deficiency of service. Accordingly, the complainant filed a complaint in the Forum below claiming damages from respondent Nos. 1 to 3, and stated that he was not claiming any relief against the fourth respondent. In this complaint, the purchaser M/s. Galaxy Overseas Inc., the shipping liner and State Bank of India, Los Angeles have not been made party to the complaint.
The respondent -Bank filed a reply in the Forum below and alleged that no cause of action arose against them. They submitted that the consignment was not given to the purchaser as he did not honour the consignment and the Los Angeles Bank accordingly returned the documents to them and as such being a collecting Bank, they are not in any way responsible for non payment to the complainant. It was stated that the complainant had not paid any charges to the answering respondents. It was also stated that the complainant was informed by them that their three bills of lading have not been honoured by the purchaser and as such have been kept with the answering respondents. It was also stated by them that the bill of lading cannot be returned to the complainant as per directions of the Reserve Bank of India.

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