K. Ramanna, President
1. This appeal is filed by the complainant under Section 15 of the C.P. Act challenging the order dated 05.08.2011 passed by the DF, Uttar Kannada, Karwar in Complaint No.139/2010 whereby the DF dismissed the complaint filed by the appellant. Hence, the appellant has come up with this appeal on various grounds.
2. The appellant also filed an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act to condone the delay of 47 days caused in filing this appeal supported by an affidavit explaining the reasons for the delay.
3. After service of notice, though the respondents have been served, neither they appeared in person nor through Advocate.
4. We have heard the arguments of learned counsel for the appellant and perused the records.
5. The point for determination in this appeal to consider is;
1. Whether the appellant has shown sufficient and reasonable grounds to condone the delay of 47 days in preferring this appeal?
2. Whether the DF is justified in dismissing the complaint; If so, what order?
6. Point Nos.1 and 2:- The appellant filed a complaint before the DF seeking for a direction to the respondent to pay a sum of Rs. 1,54,905/- till 10.12.2010 on the maturity value of the FD receipt bearing No. KDR No. 864/1992 dated 10.09.1992 and its further renewal till 08.05.2010 and further renewal from 08.05.2010 till this date with litigation expenses alleging the deficiency of service.
7. The appellant is a Consulting Engineer and Contractor and during the year 1992 he undertook some tender contract work from Zilla Panchayat Engineering Works, Sirsi. He was directed to deposit earnest money of Rs. 15,000/- and the appellant took the FDR from respondent No. 1 Bank on 10.09.1992 for Rs. 15,000/- in the name of Executive Engineer, Zilla Panchayat Engineering Works, Sirsi. The maturity date of the FDR was on 10.09.1994. The appellant after obtaining the FDR pledged the same with Zilla Panchayat which was to be returned to him only after issuing the completion certificate. But due to technical problems the FDR was not returned to the complainant in the year 1994 and therefore, the appellant could not encash the same on the date of maturity. Therefore, he made a request to the respondents Bank to renew the FDR. But the OP bank did not renew the FDR nor issued any information to the appellant. In the meanwhile, Zilla Panchayat released the pledged FDR in favour of the complainant on 22.02.2010. On 23.02.2010 the appellant submitted the FDR to the respondent bank for encashment. The respondent bank issued a DD for Rs. 19,374/- on 23.03.2010 stating that it was the maturity value of the FDR. According to the appellant, the OP Bank failed to renew the FDR on the date of maturity and no interest was awarded for a period of 16 years. Therefore, the complainant returned the DD to the respondent Bank with instructions to renew the FDR so as to enable him to get the maximum benefit. Accordingly, the FDR was renewed till 08.05.2010 with maturity value of Rs. 57,039/-. The interest rate during the year 1994 was at 13%. According to the appellant, respondents Bank calculated the interest only at 7%. At the rate of 13% the maturity value of the FDR would have been more than Rs. 1.50 lakhs. The respondents bank made the complainant put to lot of financial loss. The appellant therefore filed a complaint against the respondents on account of deficiency of service.
8. Before the DF, on service of notice, the OP appeared through advocate and filed its version contending that it is for the Zilla Panchayat to take steps to renew the FDR from time to time. Therefore, the appellant is entitled to interest only at 7% at the existing rate as per the RBI Guidelines. After following the procedure, the OP bank renewed the FDR from 10.09.1994 to 08.05.2010 by calculating the interest at the existing rate of 7r% p.a and the same was informed to the appellant vide its letter dated 14.05.2010. The appellant is not entitled for interest at the rate which was prevailing in the year 1994. Therefore, the OP prayed for dismissal of the complaint as there is no deficiency of service.
9. After careful scrutiny of the case and appreciating the oral and documentary evidence, the DF dismissed the complaint and therefore, the appellant/complainant is before us by preferring this appeal under Section 15 of the C.P Act.
10. It is an admitted fact that the appellant is a contractor under the respondent namely Zilla Panchayat. Of course, the Zilla Panchayat Engineering Works, Sirsi entrusted the contract work to the appellant. For which the appellant has deposited earnest money of Rs. 15,000/- and accordingly, he paid a DD to the respondent on 10.09.1992 for a sum of Rs. 15,000/- in the name of Executive Engineer, Zilla Panchaya Engineering Works, Sirsi, Bellekeri. The appellant after obtaining the FDR from the respondent bank the appellant pledged the same with Zilla Panchayat which was to be returned to him only after issuing the completion certificate. Of course, the respondent bank has not returned the same. The respondent bank neither renewed the FDR nor issued any information to the complainant. As per the procedure the original FDR was to be submitted to the bank either by the complainant or by the Zilla Panchayat. In the present case on hand, neither the appellant nor the Zilla Panchayat submitted the original FDR to the bank for renewal. The contention raised by the appellant is that the bank ought to have calculated interest at 13% p.a which was the rate of interest prevailing as on the date of maturity in the year 1994. But to substantiate this there is no material on record to show that the rate of interest in the year 1994 was at 13% p.a. The respondent bank calculated the interest at the exceeding rate of interest at 7% p.a as per the RBI guidelines.
11. The respondent bank has calculated the rate of interest as on the date of maturity of the original FDR in the year 1994 was 10% and the rate of interest as on the date of renewal was 7% and therefore, 7% p.a being the least, the interest was calculated at the rate of 7% p.a. Therefore, the question of renewing the FDR from time to time by the respondent bank does not arise. It is for the appellant who pledged the FDR with Zilla Panhayat is expected to complete the construction undertaken by him under the contract and get back the FDR. The relationship in between the appellant and the Zilla Panchayat covered under the contract entered into. In view of the fact that there is no deficiency of service on the part of the respondent bank to renew the FDR from the date of its maturity and pay interest at the rate of 13% p.a is incorrect. In our view the OP bank is not expected to renew the FDF from the date of its maturity. Since the FDR was not renewed and the appellant/complainant is entitled for interest on the prevailing rate of interest on the SB account. The respondent bank after following the procedure has renewed the FDR from 10.09.1994 to 08.05.2010 by calculating the interest at 7% p.a. Therefore, we are of the opinion that, there is no deficiency of service on the part of respondent to allow his complaint. The view taken by the DF in dismissing the complaint in our view does not call for any interference. Since we are dismissing the appeal on merits, the question of considering the I.A for condoning the delay does not arise. Accordingly, we pass the following:
Appeal is dismissed confirming the order passed by the DF, Uttar Kannada, Karwar in Complaint No.139/2010 dated 05.08.2011. No order as to costs.