At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. CHAUDHARI
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE DR. B.C. GUPTA
For the Petitioner: A. Tewari, Advocate. For the Respondent: --------
K.S. Chaudhari, Presiding Member:
1. This revision petition has been filed by the petitioner against the order dated 29.07.2013 passed by Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh (in short, ‘the State Commission’) in Appeal No. 234 of 2009 – Oriental Bank of Commerce Vs. M/s. Surya Agro Industries by which, while allowing appeal, order of District Forum allowing complaint was partly modified.
2.Brief facts of the case are that complainant/petitioner deposited cheque No. 820757 dated 15.1.2007 worth Rs.1,50,000/- with OP/respondent for collection on 3.7.2007. Cheque was valid upto 14.7.2007. OP informed complainant on 31.7.2007 about dishonour of the cheque. On an enquiry, the complainant came to know that the cheque was sent for collection of the amount through registered post on 18.7.2007 and complainant’s account was also debited by a sum of Rs.545/- on account of dishonour of cheque. Complainant suffered loss of Rs.1,50,000/- due to late presentation of cheque for collection. Alleging deficiency on the part of OP, complainant filed complaint before District Forum. OP resisted complaint and submitted that complainant himself was negligent in retaining the cheque for a long period and presenting the same at last moment. It was further submitted that cheque in question could not have been encashed as there was no sufficient balance in the account of M/s. Shammi Agro Industries who issued cheque and prayed for dismissal of complaint. Learned District Forum after hearing both the parties allowed complaint and directed OP to pay Rs.1,50,000/- to the complainant with interest @ 9% p.a. and further awarded Rs.1,000/- as cost. Appeal filed by the OP was partly allowed by learned State Commission vide impugned order and directed OP to pay Rs.50,000/- as compensation in lumpsum and Rs.10,000/-as litigation expenses against which this revision petition has been filed by the petitioner for enhancement of compensation.
3.Heard learned Counsel for the petitioner and perused record.
4.Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that leaned District Forum rightly allowed compensation, but learned State Commission has committed error in modifying order of District Forum and reducing amount of compensation; hence, revision petition be admitted.
5. Learned Counsel for the petitioner admitted that certainly petitioner is not entitled to grant of compensation to the tune of cheque amount, but certainly he was entitled to get higher compensation than awarded by State Commission. We do not find any force in this submission. Perusal of record clearly reveals that earlier cheques issued by M/s. Shammi Agro Industries in favour of the complainant were also dishonoured on account of insufficient balance and in such circumstances; the disputed cheque was also to be dishonoured on account of insufficiency of funds. In such circumstances, petitioner has not suffered too much loss. In the light of judgment of this Commission in 2007 (1) ISJ (Banking) – 432 (NC) – State Bank of Patiala Vs. Vishwas Ahula, bank cannot be made to pay the entire amount of cheque if it is legally open to the complainant to initiate civil/criminal action based on the cheque against drawer and bank is liable only to pay reasonable compensation to the complainant. In such circumstances, reducing compensation from Rs.1,50,000
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/- to Rs.50,000/- appears to be reasonable and there is no reason for enhancement of compensation. 6. We do not find any illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the impugned order and revision petition is liable to be dismissed. 7. Consequently, the revision petition filed by the petitioner is dismissed at admission stage with no order as to cost.