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Punjab National Bank asked to pay Rs 25,000 for harassing senior citizen

PTI 04 Nov 2014, 16:57:54 PM IST

New Delhi: A bank has been asked by a consumer forum to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 for "harassing" a senior citizen by arbitrarily dishonouring her cheque repeatedly.

New Delhi district consumer disputes redressal forum, presided by CK Chaturvedi, asked Punjab National Bank (PNB) to pay Rs 25,000 to one Sunaina Malik as compensation and litigation charges, noting that the account had sufficient deposit to honour the cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh.

"The complainant being a senior citizen was so harassed with repeated dishonouring (of cheque) that she was forced to withdraw money in cash from PNB in Ghaziabad and carry it to her residence in Dwarka in a public transport after several visits to bank," the forum's bench, also comprising its members S R Chaudhary and Ritu Garodia, said.

The forum said that the bank was in "gross dereliction of their duty and gave no reasonable explanation for their arbitrary and negligent behaviour." It also found the bank guilty of "deficiency" in service.

"We, therefore, direct the bank to pay Rs 20,000 to compensate the complainant for injustice and inconvenience suffered by her due to misfeasance by bank officials. We also award Rs 5000 to the complainant towards litigation charges," it said.

Malik had told the forum that she had applied for withdrawal of Rs 1.5 lakh through another bank by issuing a cheque from her own account in PNB, Ghaziabad.

PNB refused to honour the cheque on the pretext of the account being inoperative despite regular deposits of money in the account every month, she said.

On January 6, 2011, she was assured by PNB that the cheque would be honoured after she visited its branch in Ghaziabad, she submitted.

However, the cheque was dishonoured again on one pretext or the other, according to her.

Finally, on February 27, 2011, Malik encashed the cheque in PNB itself and had to carry the cash back to her residence in Dwarka.

In its written reply before the forum, the bank had denied the claim. However, the forum found that there were several irregularities on the bank's part.