Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Consumer Dispute Forum directed Syndicate Bank to pay Rs 5,20,000 to a customer for causing mental agony by putting her through several difficulties for the loss of original title deed of the property.
The complainant, Jaishree Jain, a resident of Puranapul, took housing loan to purchase a property with a loan from Syndicate Bank, Afzalgunj branch, in 2005. She deposited the original registered sale deed with the bank and thereby, created equitable mortgage of the said property.
She regularly repaid the agreed instalments with interest from 2005 onwards and the total amount of loan has been repaid by her in September 2013. Since then, she and her husband have been constantly requesting the bank to return the original title deed. She alleged that the bank has been evading on some pretext or the other and on the ground that they have been searching the same in the records of the bank.
"On my demand, in the last week of March 2017, the bank instead of returning the original title deed, issued a letter/certificate certifying that the complainant has repaid the loan amount and her loan account has been closed and promised to return the original title deeds in a couple of days. Believing in the statement of the bank, I waited all these days," said Jaishree Jain.
In the first week of July 2017, she approached the bank again with a letter requesting for the return of the original title deed.
"To my surprise, the chief manager of the bank has denied receiving and acknowledging the letter and so, I had to send the same letter again to the bank by post. Finally, the bank received my request the letter but failed to either send any reply or return the original title deed," said Jaishree Jain.
The complainant, through her counsel, got issued a legal notice in August 2017, to the bank demanding return of the original title deed within 30 days from the date of receipt of the said notice. She alleged that the bank has received the said legal notice but failed to comply or send any reply to the legal notice.
She alleged that on account of the absence of the original title deed of the property belonging to the complainant, she was unable to enjoy her valuable property and the bank dodging returning the said original title deed for all these years since 2013, the bank has caused lot of mental agony to the complainant.
The bank denied all the allegations made by the complainant. In spite of making the best of their efforts, the bank employees failed to trace the original deed. The bank also alleged that Jaishree Jain asked for the title deed only in March 2017.
"The search process proved cumbersome and near impossible on account of shifting of the branch premises during the intervening period and also on account of the disposal of old records as per the Records Preservation Policy of the bank. Till date, no breakthrough has been achieved and a renewed search under the supervision of higher authorities is still going on," said the bank.
After examining the facts and documents provided by Jaishree Jain and the bank, the Forum said, "The bank openly admitted that they were unable to trace out the original title deeds of the complainant. In other words, it has to be construed as that the bank has misplaced the precious documents of its customers which shows the deficiency in service and unfair trade practice."
The Forum asked the bank to furnish Bank’s Certificate on notarised affidavit indicating loss of title deed and issue paper publication regarding the loss of title deeds. The Forum also asked the bank to bear/reimburse the expenditure for obtaining certified copies of such title deeds.
The forum asked the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 5,00,000 to the complainant for causing mental agony and unseen difficulties through the loss of original title deeds and also to pay Rs 20,000 as legal cost.