The apex consumer forum has asked Axis Bank, one of the largest private sector banks in the country, to pay over Rs 50 lakh to a customer for failing to return certain documents submitted by him while availing a loan, even after he repaid the amount.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked a branch of Axis Bank Ltd to pay an amount of Rs 50 lakh for financial damages, Rs 50,000 for causing mental agony and harassment, and Rs 15,000 towards litigation expenses to Rajesh Gupta.
“The facts of the case clearly establish that the Opposite Party (Axis Bank Ltd) has failed to discharge their obligation towards their customer and have failed to return all the documents, which were entrusted,” presiding member Justice Deepa Sharma said.
The Commission also asked the bank to issue Indemnity Bond (undertaking given by a party entering into a contract promising to bear the losses in case of breach of contract) in favour of Gupta regarding all these documents.
It further said the amount shall be paid within four weeks, failing which the amount shall carry an interest rate of 12 per cent per annum.
Gupta had taken a loan of over Rs 67 lakh from the Faridabad branch of Axis Bank in 2012.
He had cleared the loan amount in 2013 and closed his loan account.
However, the bank failed to return the documents–Builder Buyer’s Agreement, full and final payment receipt by the seller, and the original allotment letter of his property–to him.
The bank contented that some of the documents available with them had been returned and the rest of the “documents had lost” and that they were unable to return those papers.
It also claimed that the documents, which they failed to return, were only receipts and had no importance.
The Commission ruled that “there is deficiency in service” as in the absence of the documents, it would certainly “not be easy for the complainant (Gupta)” to put his property in market in case he wanted to sell it.
“The Opposite Party cannot at this stage take the plea that the documents which they had failed to return were of no value.
“Had that been so, meaning thereby that if those documents which they have lost were of no consequence and value, there was no occasion for the Opposite Party to ask the complainant to deposit these documents for sanction of the loan and for its continuance,” the Commission added.