NCDRC | ICICI Bank misplaced original Sale Deed of customer; District Forum’s decision of compensation and reconstruction of sale deed — Upheld

National Consumer Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Dinesh Singh (Presiding Member) while dismissing the revision petition filed by ICIC Bank Ltd. upheld the decision of District Forum and State Commission with regard to compensation and reconstruction of lost/misplaced original sales deed of the ‘Complainants’.

The pertinent facts of the case were that the complainants had taken a home loan from the Bank and deposited the original sale-deed of their flat with the Bank. Later, the bank informed the complainants that the originally registered sale deed of their flat was misplaced/lost by them.

On being aware of the above circumstances, complainants filed a complaint at the District Forum alleging ‘deficiency of service’ on the bank’s part.

District Forum allowed the Complaint and directed the OPs — to reconstruct the sale deed by registering a complaint in the Police Station concerned regarding eth original sale deed. The same should be published in a National Newspaper, Daily Newspaper of Rajasthan and Alwar and procure a certified copy of the sale deed and notify in the copy itself that the Original Document lost due to fault of the OPs. On preparing such documents, they should be handed over to the complainant and the copy of the same should be included in the records of the OPs, which will be equivalent to the original document.

Further, Bank filed an appeal under Section 15 of the Act before the State Commission, but was dismissed.

State Commission while dismissing the appeal stated that,

According to the settled principles of the National Commission, the non-returning of original documents depicts deficiency of services and is an unfair trade practice.

 Commission’s Decision

The Bench stated that the two forums had returned concurrent findings. No palpable or crucial error in appreciating the evidence by the two foras was visible.

In the given specificities and fact of the matter, the order made by the District Forum was just and equitable.

Commission also noted that, an original registered sale deed is an important document, its loss adversely affects the property. Even if the document is reconstructed, a question still obtains on the property, and continues in perpetuity.

Bank’s position cannot be appreciated.

“When, by its own admission, it lost/misplaced the original document of the Complainants, it should have, on its own, in the normal won’t of its functioning, got the document reconstructed, handed over the reconstructed document to the Complainants, with courtesy and apology, as also conducted an internal inquiry to fix responsibility as well as undertaken systemic improvements for future.”

Thus, the revision petition being patently ill-conceived and totally bereft of merit, was dismissed with stern advice of caution to the Bank and direction with regard to timely compliance of the order was given. [ICICI Bank Ltd. v. Rajesh Khandelwal, 2020 SCC OnLine NCDRC 12, decided on 12-02-2020]

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