w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Kaushik Saha v/s The Genaral Manager, SBI & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- SAHA (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U67120KA1991PTC012267

Company & Directors' Information:- C C SAHA LTD [Active] CIN = U36920WB1933PLC007695

Company & Directors' Information:- B N SAHA CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U12000WB1938PTC009498

    First Appeal No. A/484/2018

    Decided On, 20 February 2020

    At, West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Kolkata

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. SHYAMAL GUPTA
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. UTPAL KUMAR BHATTACHARYA
    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: Mousumi Chakraborty, Advocate. For the Respondent: Deblina Lahiri, Rahul Sarkar, Advocates.



Judgment Text


Shyamal Gupta, Member

The Appeal bearing nos. A/1079/2017 and A/484/2018 are essentially the counter case being initiated by both sides of the spectrum, viz., State Bank of India (hereinafter referred to as the OP Bank) and Sri Kaushik Saha (hereinafter referred to as the Complainant). Facts and circumstances of both these Appeals since originate out of the Order dated 21-09-2017, passed by the Ld. District Forum, Malda in complaint case bearing no. 69 of 2014, both these Appeals are disposed of through this common order.

The dispute relates to non-encashment of a cheque being submitted by the Complainant with the OP Bank on 29-08-2014.

Submissions advanced on behalf of the parties were heard and documents on record gone through thoroughly.

Undisputedly, the subject cheque was received by OP Bank on 29-08-2014. Allegedly, till date the proceeds thereof has not been credited to the account of the Complainant. It is also not in dispute that the Postal Department misdirected the cheque resulting in expiry of the validity period of the cheque in question.

There can be no manner of doubt that the Postal Department was primarily responsible for the misfortune/harassment of the Complainant.

In this connection, Ld. Advocate for the Postal Department averred that in terms of Sec. 6 of the Post Office Act, 1898 no liability could be cast upon the Postal Department.

Sec. 6 of the Act runs as under:

“6. Exemption from liability for loss, misdelivery, delay or damage.- The [Government] shall not incur any liability by reason of the loss, misdelivery or delay of, or damage to, any postal article in course of transmission by post, except in so far as such liability may in express terms be undertaken by the Central Government as hereinafter provided; and no officer of the Post Office shall incur any liability by reason of any such loss, misdelivery, delay or damage, unless he has caused the same fraudulently or by his willful act or default”.

On a plain reading of the aforesaid Section, it transpires that the Postal Department enjoys certain immunity under the statute. Accordingly, in our considered opinion, while the ‘willful act or default’ of officials of the Postal Department is not conclusively proved, no liability can be cast upon it.

Now, let us see, whether there was any laches on the part of the OP Bank.

It is alleged by the Complainant that he has not yet received the ‘cheque’ in question duly revalidated, let alone the proceeds thereof. The OP Bank, as it appears, exhibited two of its internal communications, viz., Ext. ‘B’ and ‘C’ to negate such contention of the Complainant.

On scrutiny of Ext. ‘C’, it transpires that, it is stated therein that the OP Bank was informed by HSBC Bank that the revalidated cheque had already been handed over to the Complainant.

However, what we found quite intrigue here is the fact that, no copy of the communication from the end of HSBC Bank to that effect is furnished by the OP Bank in absence of which, we are unable to cross-check the authenticity of such contention of the OP Bank.

To add to the confusion, Ext. ‘C-2’ placed on record by the OP Bank denotes: “all documents received earlier has been sent to customer – Samsung. Please ask beneficiary to liase with customer – Samsung’. However, it being not the complete document, we are unable to correlate the connectivity of this Exhibit to this case; more precisely, what did it mean by ‘all the documents’. The subject Cashiers Order being issued by the HSBC Bank itself, there was virtually no reason for the said Bank to re-direct the instrument to M/s Samsung for revalidating the same.

Be that as it may, fact of the matter remains that the OP Bank has miserably failed to put forth any tangible proof before us to convince that the proceeds of the cheque in question has already been received by the Complainant.

In view of this, we deem it appropriate to direct the OP Bank to take all the required steps to ensure credit of the proceeds of the cheque in question to the account of the Complainant within 40 days hence, i.d., it shall have to make good the loss by paying Rs. 48,000/-

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to the Complainant. The award, as otherwise passed by the Ld. District Forum, in the facts and circumstances of the case, appear to be fully justified and hence does not warrant our intervention in any manner whatsoever. In such premises, Appeal bearing nos. A/1079/2017 and A/484/2018 stand dismissed and allowed in part, respectively. Let the original copy of this order be kept in the case record of A/1079/2017 and a photocopy thereof in A/484/2018.
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