At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: O.P. Gaggar, Advocate. For the Respondents: Raman Goklaney, Advocate.
The complainants took two Fixed Deposits – one of Rs.1 crore and the other of Rs.50 lakhs with the petitioner Union Bank of India on 12.12.2011, for the period of 60 months each. As per the FDRs issued to the complainants, the rate of interest payable by the bank was 10.9% p.a. Even the maturity amount, i.e., the total amount payable to the complainant on maturing of the FDRs were recorded on the receipts. However, when the Fixed Deposits matured, the interest in terms of the FD Receipts was credited in the account of the complainant but the interest in excess of 10.5% on one FDR and 10.25% on the other FDR was not allowed to be used by the complainant. The plea taken by the Bank was that as per the interest rates applicable at the time the FDRs were taken, the complainant was entitled only to interest @ 10.5% p.a. on one FDR and 10.25% on the other FDR. Being aggrieved, the complainant approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint.
2. The complaint was resisted by the petitioner Bank on the same ground on which the interest @ 10.25% on one FDR and @ 10.5% on the other FDR was paid. This was also the case of the Bank that it was a mistake on the part of the Bank to record the rate of interest @ 10.9% in the FDRs and the husband of the complainant himself was an employee of the Bank, he being an officer of the Bank.
3. The District Forum having ruled in favour of the complainant, the petitioner Bank approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide impugned order dated 7.5.2019, the State Commission dismissed the appeal. Being still dissatisfied, the petitioner Bank is before this Commission.
4. The learned counsel for the complainant has drawn my attention to the decision of this Commission dated 22.11.2019 in Revision Petition No. 1994 of 2019 filed by these very complainants against the petitioner Bank. In the above-referred matter also the deposits were made for five years and interest payable as per the FDR was 10.9% p.a. However, on maturity interest, was paid @ 10.5% p.a. on one FDR and @ 10.25% p.a. on the other FDR. Being aggrieved, the complainants approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint. The complaint was resisted by the Bank on the same grounds on which the present revision petition has been contested. The District Forum having ruled in favour of the complainants, the petitioner Bank had approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal and having lost before the State Commission, the Bank had approached this Commission.
5. In that revision petition filed by the Bank, this Commission interalia held as under:-
“The submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that there was a bonafide mistake in the matter, since, the interest rate applicable on the date of deposit was not updated in the system of the Bank, which led to higher rate being recorded in the FDs. He also submitted that the Bank should not be penalised for the said bonafide mistake on its part.
5. It is an admitted decision that the hard copies of the fixed deposit receipts were issued to the complainants as per the system of the petitioner Bank which showed the same rate of interest which were recorded on the FDs.
6. In the facts and circumstances of the case, the view taken by the fora below does not call for any interference of this Commission in exercise of its revisional jurisdictional. Had the prevailing rate of interest been made known to the complainant at the time when the deposits were made, it is quite possible that the may not have kept the deposits with the petitioner Bank and might have kept in a Bank offering higher rate of interest, though the possibility of the complainants making deposits at that applicable rate also cannot be ruled out. However, the Bank was under an obligation to inform the correct rate of interest to the depositors. That having not being done and the bank contrarily undertook to pay the interest @ 10.50 per annum, there is no reasons to allow the petitioner Bank to back out of the said contractual obligation.
7. During the course of the hearing, I specifically asked the learned counsel as to whether the mistake regarding the rate of interest was conveyed to the complainant at any point of time before the FDs matured. The learned counsel fairly submits that though the mistake was detected soon after the FDs were issued, it was not conveyed to the complainant before the FDs were matured. This is yet another deficiency on the part of the petitioner Bank in rendering the services, as soon as the alleged bonafide mistake ought to have been conveyed to the complainant soon after it was detected with an option them to shift the FDs to another bank, if they so desired.”
6. In my opinion, the above-referred decision of this Commission squarely applies to this case. The complainant No.1 who was the first depositor was not an employee of the Bank and therefore was not entitled to higher rate of interest. The fact, however, remains that the Bank had, by way of FDR issued by it, agreed to pay interest @ 10.9% p.a. Not only the rate of interest was mentioned as 10.9% even the maturity amount was calculated and recorded accordingly on the FDRs. These FDRs were taken for a long period of five years. The learned counsel for the petitioner Bank admits that the mistake in the rate of interest was noticed by the Bank soon after the FDRs were issued but no intimation at any point of time was sent to the complainant informing them that interest would be paid to them only @ 10.5% on one FDR and @ 10.25% on the other FDR. Had the Bank given such an intimation to the co
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mplainant, soon after the mistake was detected, it is quite possible that the complainants would have withdrawn the money which they had deposited with the petitioner Bank and would have deposited with some other bank, offering higher rate of interest. That having not been done, the petitioner Bank in all fairness must pay the interest which it had agreed by way of these deposits issued to the complainants. The view taken by the Fora below is fully justified and cannot be said to be perverse so as to call for an interference by this Commission in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction. The revision petition is therefore dismissed.