Bank to pay Rs 88K to man for clearing forged cheque

Syndicate Bank has been directed by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 88,000 to a 70-year-old retired government servant for clearing a cheque having his forged signature and causing him a loss of Rs 68,000.

The South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum observed that it was not just a case of negligence but also a mischievous act on the part of the bank officials who not only cleared the forged cheque but also forced the senior citizen to pursue litigation since 2006.

"This is not a case of negligence alone but a mischievous act of commission or omission on the part of bank officials, who made the payment against a forged cheque.

"The bank cannot escape its liability for such a gross and grave negligence or mischief in causing not only financial loss to complainant but also forcing him at this ripe age to knock the door of this forum for redressal of his grievance," a bench presided by Narendra Kumar said.

The forum directed the bank to pay Rs 68,000 to Delhi resident Badri Prasad towards the loss he suffered along with Rs 20,000 as compensation, including cost of litigation.

Prasad in his complaint had said he came to know of the loss of Rs 68,000 on October 7, 2006 when he had checked his account statement which showed withdrawal of the amount by a cheque allegedly issued by him on September 4, 2006.

He had immediately informed the bank that he had not issued any such cheque and had requested it to investigate the matter and compensate him, but despite several communications he received no response, he had alleged.

Syndicate Bank in its defence had contended that it had tallied the signature on the cheque with those in its records before making the payment and there was no negligence on its part.

The forum, however, rejected the contention, saying "a bare comparison" of the signatures on disputed cheque and those on record with the bank show they do no tally and the same has also been certified by the handwriting expert

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