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Supreme Court stays NCDRC order on payment of Rs 30 lakh by HDFC bank to customer


The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the decision of National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) upholding an order of state consumer forum directing the HDFC Bank for payment of Rs 30 lakh to a man, who had claimed that the amount was fraudulently withdrawn from his account. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli said that there shall be stay on the orders of NCDRC and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab and sought reply from the man, who has filed the complaint alleging fraud.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the HDFC bank, said that the man had opened his account with the bank and he was given a net banking facility with the kit provided to him.

“After his account was opened, this man logs into his account through net banking and changes his PIN (Personal Identification Number), adds a beneficiary and makes three transactions in three consecutive days by transferring Rs 10 lakh each to M/s Luxmi Narain Farm,” she said.

Arora said that upon the three transactions, the man was notified about the transaction through SMS and email but he then files a consumer complaint alleging fraudulent withdrawal from his account.

“Upon receiving his complaint that his account is being operated by someone else, the bank asked him to visit the branch as early as possible so the matter can be resolved. He did not visit the branch, instead he lodged a complaint with the consumer forum,” she said.

The senior counsel said that the NCDRC has noted in its order that the Bank put in the appearance before the State Commission but did not file their written version within the stipulated period of limitation as provided under Consumer Protection Act and their right to file any written version was closed.

She said that no facts in defence were, therefore, pleaded by the bank before the State Commission.

On July 10, 2014, the state commission directed to reverse the three entries in his account, vide which the sum of Rs 30 lakh stands transferred from his account to M/s Luxmi Narain Farm, Agra, within 30 days of the receipt of the order and furnish corrected statement of account to the complainant.

Arora said that when the bank approached NCDRC, it recorded everything in its order dated August 26, 2020 but chose not to interfere with the state commission order.

The bench asked Arora if those transactions were RTGS transactions to which she replied in affirmative.

She said that RTGS facility is given to customers when they apply for opening of bank accounts.

The bench then enquired about who was appearing for the customer, to which the senior advocate said that it was the first hearing and notice has not been issued.

The bench said that it is staying the orders of both NCDRC and state consumer forum and seeking the response from the man and listing the matter for final disposal on Non-Miscellaneous Day.

The NCDRC in its order has noted the admitted facts of the case saying that the Complainant was having a bank account with the appellant HDFC Bank and that there were three transactions of Rs 10 lakh each on October 31, 2011, November 1, 2011 and November 2, 2011 by which a total sum of Rs 30 lakh was transferred through RTGS in the account of M/s Luxmi Narain Farm.

The Complainant thereafter filed a complaint with the appellant Bank, alleging therein that his account had been fraudulently operated by someone and that he had not transferred that money and he had not issued any such direction to the appellant Bank for transfer of money to M/s Luxmi Narain Farm.

He made a complaint to this effect on November 2, 2011 with the bank, which replied back through letters dated November 16 and 23 by which the bank had asked the man to visit the branch in order to sort out the matter.

The man had also filed a police complaint on which the police had started enquiry and investigation.

When his concerns were not taken care of by the Bank, the Complainant filed the consumer complaint before the State Commission, the NCDRC had noted.



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