NCDRC imposes Rs 25 lakh fine on ICICI Bank for losing customer’s property documents

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has directed ICICI Bank to pay Rs 25 lakh compensation for losing the original property title documents of a complainant which were deposited with the bank for availing a housing loan.

Presiding Member Subhash Chandra was hearing the complaint seeking compensation for deficiency in services. It was filed by Manoj Madhusudhanan through advocate Swetank Shantanu.

According to the complaint, the bank had sanctioned a housing loan of Rs 1.86 crore in Bangalore in April 2016 and upon execution of the sale deed, it retained several original property documents, including the registered sale deed and possession certificate.

It said that as no scanned or true copies were provided by the bank, Madhusudhanan filed a complaint in June 2016, following which the bank informed him that the documents had been lost in transit from Bangalore to its central storage facility in Hyderabad by a courier company.

Since the bank did not resolve the issues, Madhusudhanan approached the Banking Ombudsman, which in September 2016 directed it to issue a duplicate copy of the lost documents, publish a public notice regarding the loss and pay the complainant Rs 25,000 for deficiency in service, the complaint said.

Madhusudhanan then moved the national consumer commission alleging the bank was “extremely negligent” and that “copies of documents cannot replace the sanctity of the original documents”. He sought a compensation of Rs 5 crore for suffering mental agony and loss.

Noting the evidence before it, the commission said seeking compensation from the bank on the ground of deficiency in service was “a legitimate claim”.

It noted that the present issue was compensation for the deficiency in service and for indemnifying the complaint against any future loss.

The NCDRC said the bank could not shift the liability to the courier company.

“The deficiency in service has also been held as established by the Banking Ombudsman. In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the complaint has merit and is liable to succeed against opposite party 1 (ICICI Bank),” the commission said.

It directed the bank to obtain, at its cost, all the reconstructed and duly certified copies of the documents handed over by the complainant as security at the time of registration of the sale deed for the housing loan sanctioned by the bank.

The NCDRC also directed ICICI Bank to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation for deficiency in services along with Rs 50,000 as litigation costs.

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