Decided on March 04,2021

Mansinghka Agencies Proprietor Smt. Santosh Mansinghka Appellant
BANK OF INDIA Respondents


ANUP K.THAKUR, J. - (1.) Under challenge in this Revision Petition No.775 of 2020 is the impugned order dated 5.3.2020 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Bench No.1- Rajasthan, Jaipur (for short, 'State Commission') in Appeal No.1039 of 2019 order. Vide this order, the State Commission had set aside the order dated 4.9.2019 of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bhilwara, Rajasthan (for short, 'District Forum'), directing the case to be sent back to the District Forum, for consideration after serving notice to Suresh Kumar Meena, to be impleaded as respondent no. 4.
(2.) Arguments were heard on 2.3.2021. Learned counsel for the petitioner/complainant chiefly made the case that the respondent - Bank of India had failed to comply with guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India in respect of providing safe and secure banking service to the petitioner/complainant-Mansinghka Agencies Proprietor Mrs. Santosh Mansinghka ('complainant', hereafter). His case on facts was that on 28.8.2015, a cheque issued by the petitioner favouring Dainik Bhaskar for Rs.399 was processed and paid by the opposite party for Rs.4,95,000/- to one Suresh Kumar Meena. FIR was immediately lodged with police station Bhilwara on 28.8.2015: a representation was also presented to the opposite party on 31.8.2015. On reply dated 20.10.2015 to an RTI application filed by the complainant, it was admitted that some lapse had taken place on the part of the opposite party in respect of processing the same for payment viz. (i) cheque above Rs.1 Lakh must be scrutinized under UV lamp; (ii) when cheque appeared to be suspicious, Bank must contact account holder before making payment; (iii) Bank must verify the identity of all walk-in consumers, none of which was done. The final report of the police investigation also found that an unknown person using a fraud photocopy of the ID of one Suresh Kumar Meena had obtained payment of the cheque and that this became possible because bank employees did not match the photo copy of ID against the original ID; further, the police report stated that the criminal had not been found. The complainant thereafter filed consumer complaint No.292 of 2016 before the District Forum. The District Forum directed examination of the subject cheque by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). FSL report concluded that the original cheque was for Rs.399/- in the name of Dainik Bhaskar which was altered to Suresh Kumar Meena for a sum of Rs.4,95,000/-. The District Forum allowed the complaint and directed the opposite party-Bank to pay Rs.4,95,000/- with 9% interest per annum from 9.7.2016 till payment along with Rs.1 lakh as compensation and Rs.20,000/- for legal expenses. This order of the District Forum was then set aside by the State Commission as noted above.
(3.) Learned counsel for the complainant further argued that this was a complaint against lapses qua not providing secure banking service as per guidelines of the RBI. He argued that it had been admitted in the written version filed by the opposite party that UV test was not conducted and the ground taken therein was that UV test was not required since there was no reason to suspect and the cheque had been encashed in good faith. He however argued that this whole matter of the suspicious nature of the cheque was also examined by the FSL, Jaipur and in its report dated 15.4.2019, it was clearly found that the cheque had been altered and the same had been allowed for payment by the opposite party. Had the opposite party followed the security guidelines of the RBI, this fraudulent payment would not have been made.;

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