A public sector bank will have to shell out Rs 20,000 for a two-day delay in sending a cheque deposited by a private limited company for clearance.
The central Mumbai district consumer forum last week held Bank of India guilty of deficiency in service.
The bank had belatedly forwarded a cheque deposited by Avron Chemicals Private Limited for clearance.
The forum directed the bank to pay the company Rs 15,000 as compensation and Rs5,000 as litigation cost.
According to the company’s complaint, it had on July 5, 2012, deposited a cheque for Rs18.09 lakh for clearance with Bank of India’s Naigaon Cross Road branch.
The following day, the company issued two cheques – Rs 19 lakh in total – to an individual. But on July 7, when the cheques were to be encashed, the bank officials told the company that there were insufficient funds in its account to clear the cheques.
The company officials then claimed to have made an enquiry with the branch manager, but did not get a satisfactory reply with regard the cheque of Rs 18.09 lakh it had first deposited.
They then discovered that the bank had not forwarded the cheque for clearance on the same day – July 5 — but instead forwarded it two days later.
When the cheques issued to the individual were returned after being dishonoured, the company approached the consumer forum and sought compensation for the delay on the part of the bank employees.
The bank contested the complaint, claiming the cheque deposited on July 5 was sent for clearance the very next day.
It further contended that as per the bank’s policy, funds become available in the account on the third day after the cheque is deposited.
In this case, the third day after the cheque was deposited happened to be Saturday, and as its cheque clearance branch did work not work for the full day, the funds were available on July 9, it said.
The consumer forum, however, held that as per the bank’s own policy, funds should be made available on third day of depositing the cheque and therefore in this case the funds should have been credited in the company’s account on July 7.
Holding the bank guilty of deficiency, it further observed that a bank cannot give the excuse that Saturday was not a full working day and therefore there was a delay in crediting the company’s account.