Chennai: The district consumer disputes redressal forum, Chennai (south), has directed the regional passport officer to pay Rs6,000 to a passport applicant for receiving excess amount of Rs1,000 towards passport fee.Petitioner S.V. Elumalaiyan of Gandhi Nagar, Vellore, submitted that he sought a passport from the regional passport officer, Chennai. He submitted an application along with a demand draft for Rs1,000, the fee for a passport.
He received a letter from the RPO informing him that the draft had lost its validity and he was asked to send another draft for the same amount. Accordingly, he obtained another demand draft for Rs1,000 and sent it to the RPO.When he received the passport, the excess fee was not returned to him. Hence, he sent a request for returning the draft. On November 25, 2010, the RPO replied that the invalid draft could not be traced in spite of their strenuous effort.
Bank officials informed him that the draft, which was stated as ‘invalid’ by the RPO, was encashed and credited into the bank account of the RPO, Chennai, on April 22, 2010. Elumalaiyan requested the RPO to either return the draft or repay Rs1,000. As there was no response, he filed the present petition before the consumer forum, seeking a direction to the RPO to pay a compensation of Rs36,000, including the refund, for causing mental agony. The RPO replied that the excess passport fee was credited to the government exchequer and necessary action would be taken to return it with the approval of the ministry.
The bench, comprising president D. Krishnaraja and members L. Deenadayalan and K. Amala, said the RPO was aware of the encashment of the first draft. Failure to return the draft or the amount even after several requests amounts to deficiency in service. The bench directed the RPO to refund Rs1,000 with an interest of 9 per cent from September 15, 2009 and pay him a cost of Rs 5,000 within a month....
Location: Tamil Nadu