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Bank told to pay Rs 25,000 in damages to senior citizen Bank told to pay Rs 25,000 in damages to senior citizen

Jan-20-2015 | 0 Comments


PUNE: The district consumer disputes redressal forum has ordered Bank of Maharashtra's Baner branch to pay Rs 25,000 to a senior citizen from Aundh as compensation for deficient service.

It said the bank was late in remitting the renewal premium for the 'Mahabank Swasthya Yojana', a group mediclaim policy held by the 65-year-old citizen, prompting the insurance firm to terminate his policy and to not issue a fresh policy considering his age.

A three-member bench of the forum, headed by its president V P Utpat and comprising members Mohan Patankar and Kshitija Kulkarni, ruled on January 12 that the insurance policy of complainant Vijay Kumar Koul could not be renewed due to inaction of the bank, which amounts to deficiency in service on its part.

Koul, a resident of Planet Millennium, Aundh Camp, moved the consumer court in October 2013, claiming that the bank was liable to refund him Rs 10,464, the premium amount paid by him since 2008 till the lapse of his policy. He also demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation for mental and physical harassment and Rs 50,000 towards cost of proceedings. The forum, however, observed that a lump sum compensation of Rs 25,000 would meet the ends of justice.

Koul had purchased the health insurance policy from the bank, which is a franchisee of the United India Insurance Company. The insurance firm had accepted his policy on October 23, 2008. The payment of the annual renewal premium was set for the first week of October each year. In October 2011, Koul had signed and issued a debit voucher to the bank to pay the premium towards his policy.

However, the bank did nothing for two months and sent the premium to the insurance firm on December 14, 2011. The firm did not accept the premium on the grounds that it had been submitted late and communicated the same to the bank on December 27, 2011, with a remark that there was a gap in the policy. The firm also remarked that a fresh policy won't be accepted as Koul was 65 years old. In the ensuing follow-up by Koul, the bank wrote to the insurance firm on March 3, 2012, that the policy be renewed, but the firm did not concede the request.

The lawyer who appeared for the insurance firm had contested Koul's claims on the grounds that the complaint was time-barred and that there had been no deficiency in service. In fact, there was no customer and service provider relation between Koul and the bank, the lawyer argued.

The forum, however, relied on the documentary evidence furnished by Koul and observed, "There is a link between the bank, the insurance company and the complainant. In ordinary course, if there is no obligation on the bank to pay the premium of the complainant, it need not request the insurance firm for renewal of policy even though the premium was paid at a late stage."

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