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Vedavalli Parthasarathy C/o Dr. (Commander) P. Gokulakrishnan & Another v/s The Assistant Director of Postal Services O/o Post Master General Head Post Office, Visakhapatnam Region & Another

    Revision Petition No. 2765 of 2012

    Decided On, 07 November 2014

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. CHAUDHARI
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Petitioners: Neha Sharma, D. Verma, Advocates. For the Respondents: Dr. Kumar Jwala, Advocate.



Judgment Text

K.S. Chaudhari, Presiding Member

This revision petition has been filed by the petitioners against the order dated 3.1.2012 passed by the A.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad (in short, ‘the State Commission’) in Appeal No. 953/2010 – The Assistant Director of Postal Services & Anr. Vs. Smt. VedavalliParthasarathy& Anr. by which, order of District Forum allowing complaint was modified and compensation of Rs.2,00,000/- was set aside.

2. Brief facts of the case are that on 10.3.2001, complainant No. 1/petitioner No.1 along with her husband late R. Parthasarathy opened two accounts in the post office at Mylapore under Monthly Income Scheme (MIS). They deposited Rs. 3 lakhs in each of the account and entitled to monthly interest credited into the S.B. account in the same post office. In January, 2002 they shifted to Pune where their son complainant No. 2 was employed. MIS accounts were transferred and the interest was credited regularly to their S.B. account. While so on 6.6.2003 her husband R. Parthasarathy died. When informed, the appellants advised that these accounts could be transferred to joint names of the complainants instead of encashment since the nomination was made by the deceased in favour of complainant No. 2. In January, 2007 complainant No. 2 was transferred to Visakapatnam. At their request MIS accounts were transferred to post office at Visakapatnam. They opened an S.B. account instead of getting the same transferred from Pune to Visakapatnam. On 10.3.2007 interest was not paid on one pretext or the other. Despite legal notice and approaching Dak Adalat the amounts were not paid. Even if there was any irregularity in transfer of accounts in the name of nominee they should have been informed. They cannot be denied the lawful amounts due to them under some technicalities. Alleging deficiency on the part of OPs/Respondent, complainant filed complaint before District Forum. OP resisted complaint and admitted opening of two MIS accounts by R. Parthasarathy and complainant No. 1 and subsequent shifting of accounts to different places and subsequent change of name of accountholder on the death of R. Parthasarathy and transfer of account to Visakapatnam. However, theydeniedthat consequent upon the death of the one of the joint accountholders on 12.6.2003 the accounts have to be treated as similar account in the name of surviving depositor from the date of death. On the death ofoneof the depositors the postmaster has to ask the surviving depositor to withdraw the excess amount in excess of limit prescribed for single depositor. The interest already paid on the excess amount would be recovered and adjusted as per Rule-8 (General) of S.B. Order No. 2/2003. Upon intimation of death of the one of the joint accountholders two accounts were irregularly converted into joint accounts at Pune, HO by adding the name of complainant No. 2 as co-depositor on 6.8.2003 against the rules in force. Irregularly paid interest has to be recovered from the surviving depositor. At the time of transfer of these two accounts to Visakapatnam from Pune, H.O. it was intimated that an excess amount of Rs. 1,09,250/- towards interest was paid at the time of maturity. The said fact was informed to the depositor by letter dt. 1.4.2008 mentioning that the accounts were irregularly continued jointly in contravention of rules, and an amount of Rs. 1,09,250/- paid in excess towards interest would be recovered. The post office was within its right to recover the amount. They acted diligently. There was no deficiency in service on its part, and therefore prayed for dismissal of the complaint with costs.

3. Learned District Forum after hearing both the parties allowed complaint and directed OP to pay Rs.4,90,750/- with 12% p.a. interest from 29.5.2007 till payment and further allowed compensation of Rs.2,00,000/- and cost of Rs.8,000/-. Appeal filed by OP was partly allowed by learned State Commission vide impugned order and directed OP to pay Rs.91,600/- with permission to withdraw Rs.4,90,750/- deposited with State Commission with accrued interest against which, this revision petition has been filed along with application for condonation of delay.

4. Heard learned Counsel for the parties finally at admission stage and perused record.

5. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that delay of 100 days in filing appeal may be condoned. Petitioner has mentioned that Petitioner No. 2 being a doctor in the Indian Navy was on deputation to Russia, who returned back on 1.4.2012 and later on was again on duty on board of a Navy vessel could not return immediately; hence, delay in filing revision petition may be condoned. As Petitioner No. 2 son of petitioner No. 1 was on deputation in Russia and on the board of vessel, I deem it appropriate to condone delay of 100 days in filing revision petition and delay stands condoned.

6. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that learned District Forum rightly allowed compensation on account of deficiency on the part of OP but learned State Commission committed error in modifying order; hence, revision petition be allowed and impugned order be set aside. On the other hand, learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that order passed by learned State Commission is in accordance with law; hence, revision petition be dismissed.

7. Learned State Commission while quoting Rule 168 (8) of P.O. S.B. Manual-VOL-I and Rule 22 of P.O. S.B. Manual Vol-I rightly observed that when one of the depositors dies, Postal Department officials by violating aforesaid rules wrongly treated it as joint account by including name of second complainant instead of treating it as account of single depositor and further committed error in paying interest.

8. Learned State Commission while considering judgments of Hon’ble Apex Court in (1998) 9 SCC 706 – The Post Master, Dargamitta, HPO Nellore Vs. Ms. Raja Prameelamma and in Arulmighu Dhandayudhapani Swamy Thirukoil, Palani through its Joint Commissioner Vs. D.G. of Post Offices, Dept. of Posts rightly observed that when deposits were made in contravention of Rule 168 (8) of Post Office S.B. manual, officials of Post Office are entitled to close the account and recover amount paid in excess. I do not find any illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the impugned order.
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br />9. Learned District Forum already allowed 12% p.a. interest on the deposited amount and learned State Commission has already upheld grant of interest, then, there was no question of granting compensation and learned State Commission rightly modified order and deleted grant of compensation and no deficiency can be imputed on the part of OPs for treating by mistake single account as joint account and allowing interest on the deposited amount and in such circumstances, petitioner is not entitled to claim any compensation from OP and revision petition is liable to be dismissed. 10. Consequently, revision petition filed by the petitioner is dismissed at admission stage with no order as to costs.
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