S. Baidya, J.
1. This appeal filed on 25.09.13 by the appellants under section 15 of the C.P.Act, 1986 is directed against the judgment dated 26.08.13 passed by the learned District Forum, West Tripura, Agartala in complaint case No.C.C-55/12 whereby the appellants who are the O.Ps in the complaint case was directed to pay a sum of Rs.30,000/- to the complainant as compensation for deficiency in service and also a sum of Rs. 1000/- to the complainant towards the cost of litigation.
2. The case of the appellants as narrated in the memo of appeal, in brief, is that the respondent herein being the complainant filed the case being C.C.-55/12 against the appellants under section 12 of the C.P.Act, 1986 alleging deficiency in service on the part of the SBI and claiming compensation of Rs.2,35,000/-. It has been stated that the respondent served as Naik in the Special Armed Force, Govt. of Tripura and has taken voluntary retirement from the service w.e.f. 30.04.12 and received an amount of Rs.4,54,000/- as retiral benefits towards gratuity and leave encashment and the said amount was deposited in the savings bank account No-10915072291 standing in the name of the respondent with SBI, Agartala Branch, It has also been stated that the respondent/complainant on 21.05.12 and 24.05.12 tried to withdraw money from his said savings bank account from ATM counter, but the ATM machine refused to disburse cash, rather a printed slip came out from the machine asking the respondent to contact the branch and accordingly, the respondent on 24.05.12 met the appellant No-2 and other officials of the bank who informed the respondent that as per instruction of the Commandant, S.A.F the savings account of the respondent was blocked and at this the respondent requested the appellant No-2 for activating his account as he is a pensioner and unless he can withdraw the pension, he will starve. It has also been stated that the mother of the respondent is 75 years old and requires money for purchasing medicine for his ailing mother, but the appellant No-2 did not pay any heed to his request.
3. It has also been stated that the appellant bank stopped the payment of pension related all money of the complainant in pursuance of a letter dated 21.05.12 issued by the Commandant, Special Armed Force, Tripura, Agartala addressed to the Branch Manager, SBI, Agartala Branch and accordingly, pursuant to that letter no payment was made by the bank to the respondent. It has further been stated that the respondent filed writ petition No-W.P(C) 256 of 2012 challenging the action of the Commandant of the S.A.F. who issued that letter to block that account of the writ petitioner/respondent namely Dulal Goswami and in course of hearing of the writ petition before the Honble High Court on 11.06.12 the learned additional Govt. advocate for the said respondent placed a copy of the written message sent by the I.G.P.(TSR/OPS), Tripura addressing the Commandant, S.A.F. unit wherein, it has been mentioned that the instruction which was issued by the I.G.P. dated 01.05.12 and on the basis of which the Commandant, S.A.F. unit issued direction that has been treated as cancelled and necessary instruction has issued to the bank and then as per order of the Honble High Court the respondent/writ petitioner was allowed to operate his account in its usual course and thereafter on receipt of the further instruction on 11.06.12 the appellants bank has allowed the respondent/complainant to operate his account. It has also been stated that the Learned District Forum by the impugned judgment held that the pension of a person cannot be freezed without direction of any Court of law which is not sustainable in law and accordingly, held that there is deficiency in service on the part of the appellant and the judgment was passed directing to pay compensation.
4. That being aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment the appellants have preferred the instant appeal on the grounds that the Learned Forum committed serious illegalities in holding that the appellants has freezed the account of the respondent/complainant without any authority and that Learned Forum also committed gross illegalities in holding that there is deficiency in service on the part of the bank ignoring the basic principles of payment of pension and as such the judgment under appeal cannot be sustained. Further grounds of appeal is that the bank is only the disbursing authority and has acted as per instruction of the employer of the respondent and the grievance, if any, of the complainant/respondent only lies against the Commandant at whose order and/or instruction the bank blocked the account of the respondent. It has been stated by the appellants that for the above mentioned reasons the judgment under appeal is not sustainable in the eye of law and it should be set aside.
5. The moot point centered round the instant appeal is as to whether the judgment passed by the Learned District Forum is sustainable in the eye of law. Decision with Reasons.
6. Admittedly, the respondent who is the complainant before the District Forum in C.C. 55/12 served as Naik under Special Armed Force, Govt. of Tripura and took voluntary retirement from service w.e.f. 30.04.12 and his retiral benefits towards gratuity and leave encashment amount have been deposited in the savings bank account being 10915072291 standing in the name of the respondent/complainant with the SBI, Agartala Branch.
7. It is the specific case of the complainant that on 21.05.12 and 24.05.12 he tried to withdraw money from his savings bank account from ATM counter, but ATM machine refused to disburse any cash, rather a printed slip came out from the machine asking the respondent to contact the Branch. It is also found admitted position that the respondent Dulal Goswami came to the bank and he was informed that as per request letter issued by the employer of the respondent they stopped payment of pensionery benefits of the complainant. It is also found admitted position that the respondent being the petitioner filed a writ petition before the Honble High Court and that writ case was disposed of as the request letter to block the savings bank account of the respondent has been cancelled as per direction of the Commandant, S.A.F unit. It is also admitted fact that after the disposal of the said writ case on 11.06.12 the respondent has withdrawn Rs.3,00,000/- from the said bank account on 12.06.12.
8. The learned advocate for the appellants submitted that the Commandant,S.A.F unit is the previous employer and controlling officer of the respondent and as per his request the appellants who is merely a disbursing authority stopped payment of retirement benefits to the respondent. He also submitted that the appellants cannot disobey the instruction of the previous employer of the respondent and in this regard the appellants is/was not at fault and therefore, the question of deficiency in service does not arise at all and accordingly, the impugned judgment should be quashed.
9. On the other hand, the learned advocate for the respondent submitted that the appellants are the service provider under the banking service system. He also submitted referring to the cross-examination of D.W.1 Smt. Sujata Sarkar examined for the present appellant in the District Forum that the D.W.1 stated that they did not stop pension of the complainant, rather they stopped other pensionery benefits and in stopping other benefits they have freezed the account of the complainant. He also submitted that retirement benefits like gratuity and leave encashment was deposited in this account, but this action of the appellants has stalled the pension account of the respondent. He also submitted that the D.W.1 clearly admitted that they did not receive any order from any court of law stopping the disbursement of the pension also which is the only source of earning of the respondent after his voluntary retirement to meet his own livelihood as well as to meet the medical expenses of his ailing mother. He also submitted that without any order from the competent court of law the stopping of disbursement of payment particularly the pension from the bank account of the respondent lying with the appellants is not only highly illegal, but also a clear case of deficiency in service towards the respondent and as such the awarding of compensation by the Learned District Forum in favour of the complainant/respondent being justified and legal should be affirmed.
10. We have gone through the cases of the parties, the memo of appeal, the evidences both oral and documentary and the impugned judgment. There is no doubt that the appellants are the service provider under the banking service system and the respondent being an account holder of the appellants bank is legally entitled to get proper service from the bank. Admittedly, the bank received no order from any competent court of law stopping disbursement of any payment from the pension account of the complainant. It is found that the appellants bank received a request letter from the Commandant, S.A.F. unit stopping to make any payment from the said account of the complainant. But simply on the basis of a letter of request the bank without receiving any order from the court of law cannot block/freeze the pension account of the respondent. Obviously, this freezing or blocking the pension account of the complainant, inspite of his repeated request for activating the account tantamounts to deficiency in service and for this reason the respondent/complainant is entitled to be compensated. We have gone through the findings of the Learned District Forum and on consideration of all we are of the view that the Learned District Forum considered all aspects of the matter and rightly arrived at the conclusion and directed the O.P/appellants to pay compensation of Rs.30,000/- and litigation cost of Rs.1000/-. So, this authority finds no ground to interfere with the impugned judgment and as such the judgment under appeal is confirmed.
11. In the result, the appeal fails and it is, therefore, dismissed without any order as to cost.