Bank ordered to pay Rs 10 lakh to customer for loss of jewellery from bank locker

Bank ordered to pay Rs 10 lakh to customer for loss of jewellery from bank locker

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has held the UCO Bank responsible for not taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of goods kept in the lockers by customers. The bank has been ordered to compensate a customer for jewelry worth Rs 10 lakh stolen from its locker.

The complainants allegedly kept jewelry, gold ornaments, and other valuables including cash worth more than Rs 35 lakh in the locker. In their complaint, the complainants said, ” A burglary took place in Civil Lines Branch of UCO Bank, Allahabad in the night of 29th / 30th April 2018. It has been reported by the media that the burglars had succeeded in breaking open the door of the strong room and cut the steel lockers with the help of gas cylinders and gas cutters and looted all the gold ornaments, jewelry and valuables including cash, kept in the locker.”

It has been further alleged by the complainants in their complaint that even after burglary the entire bank premises including the locker room were lying open, unnoticed and unguarded till the morning of May 1, 2018. “The said burglary was noticed by the bank employees only in the morning of May 1, 2018, when the said branch opened after a continuous closure of 03 days and 04 nights,” alleged the complainants.

When one of the complainants visited the bank on May 5, 2018, she found that the “locker no. 14AF was opened by cutting the same with the help of gas cutter and all the gold ornaments jewelry and other valuables kept therein were removed and the empty jewelry boxes were lying scattered near the locker.”

“The complainant further alleged that even after the incident when the locker was not in use, the bank had charged locker rent by debiting the amount from the savings bank account of the complainants,” according to the NCDRC order.

” It is further alleged that there was no security guard posted in the branch for the last many years and the burglars could easily bring gas cylinders and cutters inside the branch and move with them to the strong room and break open the safe deposit lockers without any obstruction.,” the order said.In the order dated December 15, 2023, NCDRC mentioned: “This is a clear case of deficiency in service on the part of the bank regarding the security and safety system in the bank.”UCO Bank argued that according to the bank locker terms and conditions, the bank is not liable for any loss or damage to the contents of the locker arising from any cause or event over which it is physically impossible for the bank to have any control.

Why was UCO Bank directed to pay compensation?

According to the NCDRC order, “Admittedly, after business hours, the branch was left unattended, and no security guard was deployed. It is apparent that the security system alarm was outdated as it was changed on 15.01.2019. No evidence with regard to the maintenance of the security system, daily checks of the alarm system of the Manager has been placed on record.”

The NCDRC order also stated that when the complainants pointed out the deficiencies in UCO Bank’s safety and security systems, the bank did not answer or contradict them. “They have simply relied on manuals and guidelines without providing any actual implementation of the same. This is a clear case of deficiency in service on the part of the Bank regarding security and safety system in the bank,” read the NCDRC order.

The complainants had earlier filed a case before the State Consumer Commission against the deficiency of service of UCO Bank. After hearing the case, the State Consumer Commission ordered a compensation of Rs 20 lakh on February 7, 2023. Following this, UCO Bank instantly filed an appeal against the order before NCDRC.

After hearing the case, NCDRC lowered the compensation amount to Rs 10 lakh from the original amount of Rs 20 lakh, granted by the State Consumer Commission. NCDRC said in the order, “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the bank was deficient in service in respect of lapses in the due care and attention to the safety and security of the lockers, but the amount of compensation must be just and reasonable and the compensation of Rs 20 lakh as awarded by the State Commission is on the higher side. We are of the opinion that the compensation of Rs 10 lakh for deficiency in service on the part of the bank is just and reasonable.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *