Hyderabad: An illiterate widow, who fought against an insurance company and a bank for 10 years to settle her husband's claim, has finally got justice.
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum -III Hyderabad directed State Bank of India and the New India Assurance Company Ltd to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to the complainant Munni Begum as compensation, including costs due to deficiency of service and mental agony suffered by the widow.
Munni Begum’s husband Shaik Meera Saheb had taken a home loan from State Bank of India of Rs 19.43 lakh after depositing his title deeds with the bank, thereby creating a mortgage as surety for the loan amount.
In 2009, he met with an accident and died of his injuries. When he was alive, he had also taken a personal insurance policy from the New India Assurance Company Ltd.
The complainant, as the legal heir of her husband, put up the claim before State Bank of India, Ramanthapur branch, and it was forwarded to the New India Assurance Company.
After three years, in 2011, the New India Assurance Company Ltd settled the claim for Rs 18,14,484 as against the claim of Rs 19,43,000 raised by the SBI.
Munni Bai was not informed about the settlement till she submitted an application, and a notice was issued under the Securitisation and Recon-struction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002.
After coming to know about this, she made a representation to the officials concerned, but in vain. Subsequently she filed a petition in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum asking for the return of the title deeds mortgaged by her husband and compensation after closing the account and to issue a No Due Certificate.
The assistant general manager of State Bank of India contended that the title deeds deposited by her husband could not be returned as he had defaulted in making certain payments.
The New India Assura-nce Company Ltd argued that the claim under the policy in question could be reduced to the extent of defaulted amount. Taking into consideration the defaults committed by the complainant's husband, the claim was settled at Rs 18,14,484.
The consumer forum opined that there was a clear deficiency of service on the part of the State Bank of India, Ramantha-pur, and its officials as well as the New India Assurance Company as they did not inform the complainant about the settlement of the claim and about her liability to pay the outstanding amount.
The forum further stated that in view of the mental agony and harassment suffered by the complainant, she is entitled to a compensation of Rs 3,00,000 and another Rs 50,000 towards legal expenses.
The time given for compliance is 30 days only. Failure to comply with the orders within the stipulated time would entitle the complainant to interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum till the date of realisation....