Should a bank, irrespective of efforts on the side of a customer, return a dishonoured cheque on time? Yes, says the State Consumer Redressal Commission.
The commission, in a recent case, ruled that the bank cannot expect the customer to go to the branch every day and enquire about the status of a deposited cheque. It has to be communicated to the customer on time by the bank on its own.
The matter pertains to an appeal filed by one M A Venkatakrishna. The case of the litigant was that he had deposited a cheque worth Rs 60,000 in the Kilpauk Branch of the Oriental Bank of Commerce in 2007 for collection.
Despite the fact that the cheque stood dishonoured, the branch had neither returned it to him nor informed him about its status.
This despite his constant representations with the bank officials.
It was only the next year that he was able to obtain the dishonoured cheque, which deprived him of the opportunity to initiate action in time against the party who issued the cheque to him.
Therefore, he approached the commission for compensation stating that the bank was negligent in its service.
Passing orders, the bench comprising J Jayaram and S Sambandam said that it was the bounden duty and responsibility of the bank to inform the complainant about the return of the dishonoured cheque and to forward the cheque with the return memo to the customer immediately.
Otherwise, it would amount to deficiency of service.
The bench then ordered the bank to pay Rs 10,000 to the petitioner for deficiency of service and `3,000 for covering the costs of the litigation.