The Delhi state consumer panel has directed the State Bank of India to refund Rs 1.29 lakh to a customer for not taking effective steps to block her stolen ATM card in 2006. The state commission also imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on the bank for filing a “frivolous” appeal before it. The commission, while dismissing the appeal filed by the SBI against the district forum order asking it to return the money, said that the bank “failed to take effective steps for blocking of the stolen ATM card” which was a clear case of “deficiency in service”. “It was the bank who failed to take effective steps for blocking of the ATM card. It is thus a clear case of deficiency in service. The incident took place in March 2006 and the complainant has not received a single penny in a span of 11 years,” the judicial member of the state commission N P Kaushik said.
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It said that instead of making the payment to the complainant, the bank rather filed a “false and frivolous appeal”. “The same is dismissed with costs of Rs 1,00,000,” the commission said. According to the complaint filed by Okhla resident Rahimunnisa Shahana, on March 13, 2006 her bag containing a new ATM card and an envelop having the pin number were stolen before she could even use it. The bag also contained Rs 5,000 among other things. She went to her SBI branch in Nizamuddin on the same day and met an officer and the branch manager and made a request to block the card, it said.
She alleged that when she went to the branch after a fortnight and enquired about her credit balance, she learnt that the entire amount Rs 1,29,060 had been withdrawn through ATM during March 13 to March 21. The plea claims that she made a complaint in writing on March 30, 2006 and filed a complaint with the police as well. The bank had claimed in the district forum that the complainant herself was negligent in carrying the ATM card and the envelope containing the PIN code. It also denied her visit to the bank on March 13, and said that she never met any of its officers on the day the theft took place. However, the district forum had rejected the claims of the bank and asked the bank to return the money.