National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): The Coram of Justice R.K. Agarwal (President) and Dr S.M. Kantikar (Member) expressed that, customer avails of Locker hiring facility is so that they may rest assured that their assets are being properly taken care of, but in the present matter, OP Bank failed to take care of the assets.

Instant appeals were filed against the order passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Jharkhand whereby the complaints filed were partly allowed and the State Bank of India was directed to pay a lump sum compensation of Rs 30,00,000.

In the present matter, the complainants had Saving Bank Account and several High Value Fixed Deposit Accounts for nearly last four decades with the State Bank of India (OP Bank). They were also allotted Safe Deposit Locker by the OP Bank.

During the intervening night, a theft took place in the OP Bank as a result of which various items including jewellery and postal deposit instruments which were kept in the Safe Deposit Locker by the complainants were taken away by the miscreants/thieves.

The OP Bank did not intimate about the above-stated and on reaching the bank they got to know that their Safe Deposit Locker had been broken open and burgled. Further, the complainants met the Officer of the OP Bank, who confirmed the incident and asked them to furnish a list of their valuables.

Complainants alleged deficiency in service on the part of the OP Bank, the complainants filed a consumer complaint before the State Commission seeking compensation.

On being aggrieved with the impugned order passed by the State Commission, while the OP-Bank had filed appeals for setting aside the order by the State Commission, complainants preferred the cross-appeals for enhancement of the compensation awarded by the State Commission.

Analysis and Decision

Commission expressed that the purpose for which the customer avails Locker hiring facility is so that they may rest assured that their assets are being property taken care of, but in the present matter, OP Bank failed to take care of the assets/valuable articles of the Complainants which were lying in the Lockers provided by the OP Bank.

Further, the Coram added that although the stolen goods were seized by the Police and the complainants could identify only small quantity of their jewellery because most of the jewellery was in distorted shape due to rough handling by the burglars and a substantial quantity of jewellery was melted and transformed into gold biscuits, yet the OP Bank cannot be absolved from the deficiency in service on their part.

Therefore, no interference with the well-reasoned order was required. [SBI v. Gopal Prasad Mahanty, 2022 SCC OnLine NCDRC 48, decided on 7-4-2022]

Advocates before the Commission:

For the State Bank of India: Mr. Jitendra Kumar, Advocate

For the Complainants: Mr. Gopal Prasad Mahanty, in-person

Mr. Shashi Bhushan Kr., in person

Supreme Court of The United States
Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of the United States:  This appeal was filed before the Bench of Breyer, J.

The case involved two defendants who were convicted in the Federal Court for unlawful possession of firearms which was violative of § 922(g)(1) of The Armed Career Criminal Act. Each offender had State burglary convictions which could potentially expose them to a mandatory prison term of 15 years. The offenders should have at least three convictions of ‘violent felonies’ which includes ‘burglary’ as per §924(a)(1).

The issue that arose was whether the burglary of a non-permanent or mobile structure that is used for overnight accommodation qualifies as ‘burglary’ in the said Act. The Federal Court vacated the sentence of the offenders and hence an appeal was filed before the Supreme Court. The Court adjudged that the statutory term ‘burglary’ does indeed include structures used for overnight accommodation. The Court relied on Mathis v. United States, 2016 SCC OnLine US SC 80 and Taylor v. United States, 1990 SCC OnLine US SC 81 to construe the term. The judgment of the Sixth Court of Appeals was reversed and the judgment of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was vacated.[United States v. Victor J. Stitt, 2018 SCC OnLine US SC 86, decided on 10-12-2018]