For gross negligence on the part of a Chandigarh-based nationalised bank officials, who broke the locker of the complainants without permission, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed the bank authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh to the complainants. The commission has also directed the bank officials to pay Rs 50,000 towards the litigation expenses to the complainants.
The order was pronounced on the complaint of Bimal Kumar Nohria and his wife Sangita Nohria, residents of Sector 40, Chandigarh, against Sector-35 branch of Canara Bank through its branch manager, general manager, Canara Bank, Circle Office, located in Sector 34-A and against the bank’s chairman-cum-managing director.
Nohrias in their complaint claimed that they procured a locker at Canara Bank’s Sector 35-B branch on March 13, 1987.
Nohria stated that on August 9, 2014, he received a call from branch manager of the bank, asking him to reach the bank. At the bank, he was told that the some bank officials by mistake broke open his locker on July 30, 2014.
When checked, Nohrias found that gold and silver jewellery were missing from the locker. The couple lodged a police complaint on August 9, 2014 an FIR was registered at the Sector 36 police station. The couple claimed that they incurred a loss of Rs 37.80 lakh. The ornaments which were recovered from the locker were handed over to the police as the complainants refused to receive them.
Meanwhile, terming the claim of the complainants ‘false’, the bank officials averred that in the FIR, the complainants claimed that they suffered a loss of Rs 25 lakh and later jacked up the figure to Rs 80 lakh.
Bank officials claimed that permission was sought to break open 15 lockers, primarily of customers who were defaulters of the annual locker rent and the locker of the complainants was mistakenly opened.
The commission in its order observed, “It is not understandable that why the bank had not taken any action against the bank officials, who were involved in that episode. It is strange to note that FIR was lodged by the customer and not by the bank,” read the order.
The commission said the complainants are entitled for the compensation.