Consumer Connect: 'The Banking Ombudsman Can Award Compensation Of Only Up To ₹20 Lakh,' Says Expert

Consumer Connect: 'The Banking Ombudsman Can Award Compensation Of Only Up To ₹20 Lakh,' Says Expert

The questions are answered by Adv. Shirish V. Deshpande, Chairman – Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, June 10, 2024, 08:57 AM IST
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Consumer Connect | FPJ

I have a grievance against a nationalised bank regarding my FDs of Rs35 lakh. Is it advisable to file a complaint in a consumer court or before the RBI ombudsman? Does the RBI entertain complaints exceeding Rs20 lakh? Is any fee payable for filing a complaint to the ombudsman? Can the ombudsman grant compensation for the losses?

Sadanand Ekbote, Mahalaxmi

You have not given the nature of your complaint. There is a misunderstanding that the ombudsman can entertain complaints of only up to Rs20 lakh. There is no limit on the amount in a dispute that can be brought before the ombudsman. However, there is a cap on the amount of compensation the ombudsman can award, and that limit is Rs20 lakh.

This compensation is for any direct loss suffered by the complainant. In addition, the ombudsman is also empowered to award up to Rs1 lakh to the complainant for the loss of time, expenses incurred and mental harassment. The RBI has an Integrated Banking Ombudsman Scheme. Any customer aggrieved by an act or omission of a bank resulting in deficiency in service can file a complaint under this scheme. The complaint shall not lie unless the complainant had made a written complaint to the bank earlier and the complaint was either rejected fully or partly or the bank has not replied within 30 days after receiving the complaint. Such a complaint has to be filed before the ombudsman within one year from the date of receipt of the decision by the bank concerned.

No fee is payable for filing a complaint before the ombudsman. The complaint may be filed online through the portal designed for the purpose (https://cms.rbi.org.in). The complaint can also be submitted through electronic or physical mode. The ombudsman normally tries to promote settlement, but if this does not work out, then the ombudsman decides the case on merit. If either party is not satisfied with the award then an appeal can be filed before the appellate authority.

I am told that in consumer courts there is no need for the complainant to file an affidavit as required in judicial courts? Is this true? If so, is there a circular to that effect?

Anant Nagle, Vile Parle (West)

Just a self-certified affidavit by the complainant in support of his complaint is sufficient. A circular dated May 27, 2014, issued by the department of consumer affairs, Delhi, made it clear that complainants should not be forced to file affidavits as required in judicial courts. This was one of the measures of the government to make proceedings in consumer courts simple. However, this fact is little known and many advocates ask complainants to file affidavits in support of their complaints.

I had filed a complaint with MahaRERA against a builder seeking refund of the Rs75 lakh I had paid for a flat in Kandivali. Now the matter has been referred to the MahaRERA conciliation bench. The developer has offered to refund Rs75 lakh with interest at the current MCLR rate and in three EMIs. If I agree to this settlement, in case the builder defaults do I have any remedy? Is MahRERA conciliation settlement binding?

Nandkishore Jhaveri, Kandivali

You will note that the settlement terms entered into before the MahaRERA conciliation bench are as good as an MahaRERA order and hence binding on both parties. In case of noncompliance, the same are enforceable through RERA execution process.

(Advocate Shirish V Deshpande is chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat. Queries can be sent to him on email: shirish50@yahoo.com)

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