National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Directs Bank To Repay FDR Maturity and Interest

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Facts

The Complainant and his wife were the joint holders of an FDR which was issued on 6th May 1997 for Rupees 50,000 by the OP Bank. The FDR was filed under a Reinvestment Deposit Plan. The maturity date of FDR was on 6th May 1999. The Complainant approached the Bank for the encashment of the FDR in 2016 but OP Bank refused.

The Complainant stated that under a Reinvested Deposit Plan, the FDR gets automatically reinvested unless the account holder wants to encash prematurely. The Complainant filed a consumer complaint before the District Forum on 15th September 2016 against OP Bank. In the Complaint, the Complainant asked for a maturity amount along with Rupees 1,00,000 compensation and Rupees 22,000 costs.

OP Bank stated that there is a link between the Savings and deposit account. There is a rule that there must be a minimum of Rupees 10,000 to avoid any deduction from the FDR account. O.P Bank stated that on 14th October 1998, the FDR had ‘Nil’ balance and was marked for being deleted. The bank also stated that the Complainant never approached the Bank on the maturity date ie. 6th May 1999 and came 17 years later. There was also a delay of 18 years in filing the Complaint and by then the account in question had been marked for deletion. The Bank has done this based on the provision of the Banking Companies (Period of Reservation and Records) Rules 1985, the bank needs to maintain records for 8 years immediately preceding the current calendar year.

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The District Forum stated that the Complainant can get maturity amount from the Opposition side along with Rupees 2000 out of which Rupees 1000 amounts to litigation costs. The District Commission’s Order was in support of the Complainant because the Opposition side never took the consent of the Complainant before transferring his amount to the Savings account. The State Commission also heard both sides and its Order was made on 31st August 2017.

The State Commission supported the Order made by the District Forum. So the Bank filed a Revision Petition under Section 21 (j) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 against the Order made by the State Forum Commission.

Arguments Advanced

The Bank reiterated the points made by it in the District Forum Commission. The counsel of O.P Bank also stated that according to the guidelines of preservation of business records that are based on the Circular of Reserve Bank of India.

Court’s Observation

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The Court referred to the guidelines of preservation of business based on the Circular of Reserve Bank of India. The Court also looked into the provision of the Banking Companies (Period of Reservation and Records) Rules 1985. The Court also focused on how the Opposition side did not take the Complainant’s consent before transferring the funds.

Decision

The National Commission supported the Order made by both the State and District Commission. The Opposition was Ordered to pay the maturity amount to the Complainant along with interest and litigation costs.

Click here to read the judgement.


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