national consumer disputes redressal commission

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: In a consumer complaint filed under Section 21(a)(i) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against ICICI bank for deficiency in service for losing original title documents pertaining to the complainant’s property, which were deposited with the bank against a housing loan, the Presiding Member Subhash Chandra partly allowed the same holding deficiency of service on part of ICICI bank, and directed payment of compensation of Rs 25 lakhs to the complainant.

Factual Matrix

As per facts, ICICI bank sanctioned a housing loan of Rs 1,86,00,000 on 11-04-2016 for a site in Bangalore. The same was to be repaid over 20 years at a monthly EMI of Rs 1,72,769.50. After execution of sale deed, the bank retained two registration sale deeds, Possession Certificate issued by the society, BDA Khata, BBMP Khata Certificate, Tax recepits, Khata endorsement issued by the CMC and Encumbrance Certificate. The complainant did not get any scanned or true copies which was also complained on 14-06-2016.

On 21-06-2016, the bank informed the complainant of initiating process for tracing misplaced original documents pertaining to the said property. It was therefore informed that the papers were lost in transit by the Blue Dart courier company from ICICI bank’s Bangalore office to central storage facility in Hyderabad, and that they were deferring due EMIs till the recovery of original documents. Pointing out negligence on part of Blue Dart, the bank sought complainant’s consent to recreate the said documents and offered compensation of two EMIs, while issuing legal notice against Blue Dart seeking compensation of Rs 2.5 Crores. On its failure to respond, the complainant approached Banking Ombudsman on 14-08-2016 which directed ICICI bank to issue a duplicate copy of lost documents, publish a notice and pay Rs 25,000 for deficiency in service.

The complainant proceeded with the instant complaint targeting the ICICI bank’s extreme negligence pertaining to original papers of property valued at Rs 5 Crores. The complainant’s main concern was that recreated papers of title to property would be weak in terms of clarity in title, which would eventually affect the property he wishes to place the property on real estate market. The complainant highlighted the ICICI bank’s ‘hypocritical’ act in claiming Rs 2.5 Crore compensation from Blue Dart through waiver of only two EMIs payable by the complainant.

Commission’s Analysis

Based on the material produced, the Commission acknowledged that the ICICI bank was responsible for custody and security of original documents for housing loan. The Commission further disregarded the ICICI bank’s contention of passing the liability upon Blue Dart because the said papers were in bank’s custody for the plot mortgaged to it. Regarding the excessive amount of claim sought by the complainant, the Court also explained that the said contention could not be sustained. It considered that Blue Dart was only an agent bound by the terms of the Service Level Agreement and approved the instant complaint directed against ICICI bank due to clear delineation of liabilities.

On ICICI bank’s denial of any impact on the complainant, the Commission stated that the legal title did stand compromised due to loss of original documents. The Court upheld seeking compensation on the ground of deficiency in service as a legitimate claim. While considering the compensation sought by the complainant, the Commission noted that the property was mortgaged on 22-04-2016 for a sum of Rs.1,95,25,825 and there was short time passage between date of mortgage and filing of the complaint and found the damages of Rs 2.5 Crores claimed by ICICI bank from Blue Dart to be more realistic as against the inflated claim. It also considered the compensation paid by ICICI bank in terms of order passed by the Banking Ombudsman.

The Commission clarified that “the issue is not of fixing a value to a piece of real estate which the complainant is in possession of. Rather, it is one of compensation for the deficiency in service and of indemnifying the complaint against any future loss.” It further stated that the bank’s liability was manifest in the loss of the documents and it could not seek to shift the liability to its agent, Blue Dart. The Commission also took note of the deficiency in service established by Banking Ombudsman as well.


The Commission partly allowed the instant complaint and directed ICICI bank to do the following:

  • Obtain all the reconstructed and duly certified copies of the documents handed over by the complainant at its own cost;

  • Hand over the true and certified copies of such documents to the complainant;

  • Issue an indemnity bond regarding the documents in favour of the complainant;

  • Pay Rs 25 lakhs compensation after factoring in the compensation awarded by the Banking Ombudsman;

  • Pay Rs 50,000 as litigation cost to the complainant;

  • Comply within 8 weeks or the ICICI bank shall be liable to pay interest @12% per annum OR simple interest @9% till realization.

[Manoj Madhusudhanan v. ICICI Bank Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine NCDRC 323, Order dated 31-08-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Complainant: Advocate Swtank Shantanu, Advocate Shifa, Advocate Pratap Shanker

For Opposite Party: Advocate Anand Shankar Jha, Advocate Abhilekh Tiwari, Advocate Sumit Goel, Advocate Advaditya Sharma

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