Clearing a cheque with doubtful overwriting without inquiring with the account holder concerned amounts to deficiency in service by the bank, the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Forum held on Friday.
Riyaz Hasan Mukadam, who works in Doha, had issued a post-dated cheque for Rs2.81 lakh to his brother living in Mumbai in November 2008. When Mukadam called up his brother on December 9, 2008, he learnt that the latter had not received the cheque. On checking with the bank, the NRI found out that the amount had been transferred to the account of Saurav Roy in some other branch of the bank.
Mukadam then approached the consumer forum seeking refund of the amount with interest and a compensation of Rs50,000 for the mental agony caused. Since the name of the drawee and the date of issuance on the cheque had been altered, the forum held the bank guilty of deficiency in service for not checking with Mukadam before clearing the cheque on the very day it was presented to them.
“Since the original nature of the cheque had been changed, it was necessary [for the bank officials concerned] to inquire with the complainant before clearing the cheque,” observed the forum.
The forum directed the bank to refund the amount of Rs2.81 lakh to Mukadam along with an interest at the rate of 9% from December 2008. The bank will also have to pay additional sum of Rs10,000 as compensation to the customer.