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Bank not liable to pay amount of misplaced cheques: Panel
May, 27th 2008

A bank cannot be asked to pay the amount of a misplaced cheque unless it is proved that the instrument has been encashed by a third person, the Delhi Consumer Commission said.

"Unless and until, there is unauthorised encashment of such (misplaced) cheque by any third person due to negligence of the bank, it cannot be directed to pay the amount of the cheque, which the party (depositor) is entitled to receive from the third (cheque issuer) party," Commission President Justice J D Kapoor said.

At the most, the bank can be held liable to pay compensation for the negligence in misplacing the cheque, the Commission said.

Partly allowing an appeal of Central Bank of India, the Commission set aside a district forum order, directing it to credit Rs 72,175, the amount of three cheques that have been misplaced by it, into a complainant's account.

"As there is no evidence as to the encashment of the (misplaced) cheque by some unauthorised person, the order for directing the appellant bank to credit the amount of cheque was unjustified and uncalled for," Justice Kapoor said.

Holding that the act of misplacement of cheques, however, amounted to deficiency in service under the Consumer Protection Act, the Commission asked the bank to pay Rs 10,000 for causing mental agony and harassment to Ajay Aggarwal.

The cheques were issued by Punjab-based Janta Trading Company in favour of Aggarwal.

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