Many times we visit banks to deposit cash. Sometimes due to bad luck, the cash you have in your pocket might get stolen. What happens in such a situation? Will the bank be held liable for this? In this blog, we will discuss what happens if money is stolen inside the bank and who will be held responsible.
If you think that the bank is not liable for the money lost inside the bank premises, then you are wrong. As per the law, the bank can be penalized for the customer's money stolen inside the bank premises. "Duty of care" offered by the bank to its customers consists of ensuring the safety of money deposited and or withdrawn inside the bank’s premises.
On March 28th, 2016, an account holder of Chandni Chowk branch of State Bank of India (Delhi) had lost Rs 76,000 inside the bank premises. The money was snatched by the robber while he was standing in a queue inside the bank. While he put his hand inside his pocket to take out the money; the robber snatched the money and ran away. About a month later, the victim filed an FIR under section 379/341 of the IPC. As proof, the victim even had the relevant pictures from the CCTV camera.
But, this issue was not resolved even after writing many letters to the police. The victim then contacted the District Forum stating that the bank should be held responsible for the money lost for not providing proper security inside the Bank.
But, the District Forum said that the robbery took place outside the premises of the Bank. Also, it dismissed the case stating that when any Criminal Act is alleged, the Consumer Fora does not have jurisdiction. Even State Commission dismissed the appeal made by the consumer.
The victim’s legal advisor later submitted the issue before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), stating that both District Forum and State Commission had mistaken that the amount was robbed, while he was standing in a queue outside the Bank. But, the victim had photographic evidence which showed the man stealing the amount within the bank premises.
However, the bank forcefully fought that the customer had a Current account and the complaint was filed one month after the incident. It further argued that all bank customers cannot be provided security.
NCDRC said: “We are of the considered view that the ‘ duty of care’ extended by the Bank to its customers includes monitoring/ surveillance of the CCTV coverage to prevent any such adverse incident, ensuring safety of the money deposited and or withdrawn inside the Bank premises, is impliedly the part of service, which it renders to its customers.”
"We are of the considered view that the Bank has committed a breach in its ‘duty of care’ in ensuring the safety of the money taken by the Complainant, who has lost it within the Bank premises and therefore we hold that any security lapse within the Bank premises amounts to a definition of service.”
Reference: Financial Express.
As per the NCDRC order, the bank has to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 along with expenses of Rs 10,000 to the complainant.
See Also: Insurance To Protect Your Bank Locker
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