StanChart Bank fined Rs 2.97 lakh

The State Consumer Commission has dismissed a Standard Chartered Bank's plea against a district forum order to it to pay Rs 2.97 lakh to a loanee for seizing her car for non-payment of a meagre sum of Rs 30,000 and selling it despite subsequent payment of all dues by her.

The vehicle was sold after the loanee refused to take it back as its crucial parts had allegedly been removed, rendering the vehicle to a non-working condition.

The Delhi State Consumer Commission observed the woman's willingness to pay the remaining loan amount of Rs 30,000 showed she was keen to take the car back and there must have been some compelling reason for her for not doing so.

"It appears that statement of respondent (loanee) that the vehicle was not in a condition for taking possession needs to be accepted. It is evident that on one hand the appellant bank (Standard Chartered) is entering into an arrangement to return the car on payment of Rs 30,000 and on the other hand its officers allowed parts of the car to be removed which is a case of negligence and serious deficiency-in-service. "We are of considered opinion that a case of deficiency in service is made out beyond doubt and to serve the ends of justice it would not be proper to interfere with the order of the district forum. The appeal is accordingly dismissed," the bench presided by Justice Barkat Ali Zaidi said.

In her complaint to the district forum, Delhi resident Sunita Verma had alleged that her car, a Maruti Omni, bought in August 2001 on a loan from the bank was taken away by it on default of payment and despite her paying the remaining amount the vehicle was sold.

While admitting that Verma had paid the remaining Rs 30,000 to it, the Standard Chartered had alleged that the car was sold after she refused to take possession of it. The district forum, however, had held the bank guilty of rendering deficient service and had directed it to refund her Rs 2.37 lakh she had paid to clear her loan and also another sum of Rs 60,000 as compensation and litigation cost.

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