The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has directed ICICI Bank to pay compensation of Rs 25 lakh for losing the original property title documents of a complainant. The complaint was filed by Manoj Madhusudhanan through his advocate Swetank Shantanu, and sought compensation for deficiency in services. These documents had been deposited with the bank as security for a housing loan.
According to the complaint, ICICI Bank had sanctioned a housing loan of Rs 1.86 crore in Bangalore in April 2016. Following the execution of the sale deed, the bank retained various original property documents, including the registered sale deed and possession certificate. As the bank did not provide scanned or true copies of these documents, Madhusudhanan filed a complaint in June 2016.
In response, the bank informed him that the documents had been lost in transit from Bengaluru to its central storage facility in Hyderabad, by a courier company.
Madhusudhanan escalated the matter to the Banking Ombudsman, which, in September 2016, directed the bank to issue a duplicate copy of the lost documents, publish a public notice about the loss, and pay the complainant Rs 25,000 for the deficiency in service.
Unsatisfied with the resolution, Madhusudhanan then approached the National Consumer Commission, alleging that the bank had been extremely negligent and that copies of documents cannot replace the sanctity of the original documents.
He sought compensation of Rs 5 crore for mental distress and losses. The NCDRC recognised the legitimacy of the claim for compensation based on service deficiency and indemnification against future loss. It stated that the bank could not shift the liability to the courier company. The commission concluded that the evidence supported the claim of deficiency in service, and it ordered ICICI Bank to obtain, at its expense, all reconstructed and duly certified copies of the documents held as security during the sale deed registration for the housing loan.
Additionally, the bank was directed to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation for service deficiency, along with Rs 50,000 as litigation costs.