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State Bank of India v/s Consumer Affairs & Fair Business Practices, West Bengal & Others

    Revision Petition No. 3750 of 2010

    Decided On, 15 June 2020

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Nemo. For the Respondents: R1, Sanjoy Kr. Ghosh, R2 & R3, Gurmeet Bindra, Advocates.



Judgment Text


Oral:

The consumer complaint was filed by the Director of Consumer Affairs & Fair Business Practices, Government of West Bengal, against State Bank of India and SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. seeking compensation for deficiency of service on their part for rendering services to several credit card holders. The afore-said card holders approached the Consumer Welfare Department of the Government of West Bengal alleging several deficiencies in rendering services to them, in respect of the credit cards issued by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd.

2. The consumer complaints were resisted by both the opposite parties i.e. State Bank of India as well as by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. The District Forum awarded compensation amounting to Rs. 18 Lakhs only against SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. Costs of Rs. 5,000/- was also awarded. Since the logo of SBI was being used by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. The State Bank of India was directed to publish in the newspapers, its position, inter alia, in respect of the use of its logo by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd.

3. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the District Forum both State Bank of India and SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. preferred separate appeals. Both the appeals having been dismissed State Bank of India is before this Commission by way of this Revision Petition.

4. Admittedly, there was no privity of contract between the State Bank of India and the card holders whose cause was sought to be espoused by Government of West Bengal. The afore-said card holders applied for the issuance of the credit cards issued by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. and not with State Bank of India. The payment which they claim to have made was made to SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. and not to State Bank of India. Therefore, if there was any deficiency in the service rendered to the card-holders it was committed by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. and not by State Bank of India. Both the State Bank of India and SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. are separate legal entities. It appears that logo of State Bank of India has been used by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. with the permission of State Bank of India under some arrangement between them and the Bank. But mere use of the logo of State Bank of India will not fasten liability on the State Bank of India for the alleged deficiency of the nature alleged by the card holders on the part of SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. in rendering services to them While applying for cards the card-holders knew that they were applying to SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. and not to State Bank of India. This was also evident to them from the statement which were issued by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. and not by State Bank of India. That also explains why the Fora below have not awarded any compensation against State Bank of India. The only direction given by the Fora below to State Bank of India is to publish advertisement in the newspapers, explaining its position with respect to the cards issued by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. Such a direction, in my opinion, could and should not have been given by a consumer forum. If the card-holders have any grievance with respect to use of SBI Logo by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd., they should approach the Reserve Bank of India for appropriate directions to State Bank of India and it would not be desirable to direct State Bank of India to publish notices in newspapers to explain its position qua the cards issued by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. From whatever angle I may look at it, the order passed by the Fora below against the petitioner State Bank of India cannot be sustained and the same is hereby set aside. The Revision Petition stands disposed of.

5. It is made clear that the view taken in this Revision Petition would no

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t influence in any manner the Revision Petition filed by SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. It is further made clear that the complainant as well as card-holders would be at liberty to approach Reserve Bank of India, Banking Ombudsmen or any other authority except the consumer forum for the grievance, if any, against State Bank of India on account of State Bank of India having permitted SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. its logo.
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