New Delhi: Apex consumer commission NCDRC has directed State Bank of India to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to a customer for failing to return him the title deeds of his property which was deposited with the bank against a loan.

Kolkata resident Amitesh Mazumder had taken a loan of Rs 13.5 lakh from SBI against the title deed of the property which was not returned to him even after repaying the loan amount in full.

The bank admitted that the loan had been paid by Mazumder but said that the title deeds were not traceable.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) observed that without the title deed, the customer would not get the true market value of the property nor will any bank give him a loan in the future.

“No one in the market will agree to purchase an immovable property on payment of its prevailing market value if he knows that the original title deed of the property will not be delivered to him by the seller.

“If the complainant decides to take a loan against the property, he will not be able to get a ready lender in the market unless the title deeds of the property are deposited. In fact, even a bank may be unwilling to give a loan against an immovable property unless the title deeds of the property are deposited with it,” NCDRC presiding member V K Jain said.

The commission upheld the order of the West Bengal State Consumer Commission which had directed SBI to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation and litigation cost of Rs 30,000 to Mazumder.

The consumer forum had also directed the SBI to publish the loss of the original title deed in three leading daily newspapers and lodge an FIR.

The NCDRC, while rejecting the revision petition of the bank, said that even the compensation awarded by both the state and the district commissions was not sufficient to make up for the loss in the market value of the property.

“Therefore, the compensation awarded by the fora below was eminently justified on account of the petitioner bank having lost the title deeds of the immovable property of the complainant. The view taken by the fora below does not call for any interference by this commission in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction,” the NCDRC observed.

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