Goa: Consumer forum rules in favour of senior citizen over bank ‘deficiency of service’

The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in South Goa pronounced the mandate in favour of a 78-year-old senior citizen who wanted to withdraw cash from her account but was denied after being accused of being mentally ill by her daughters. The forum came down strongly on the Madgaum Urban Co-op Bank Ltd, which refused the request while referring to their conduct as amounting to ‘deficiency of service’.

The senior citizen complainant who currently resides at an old age home said that her only source of income was the pension she receives upon the death of her husband and the state government’s DSS scheme.

The widow said that she wanted to withdraw cash from her account, but the bank refused her to withdraw the money on grounds that two of her three daughters had filed a complaint that the mother was being treated at a mental hospital. The bank also asked the complainant to produce a medical certificate from the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour (IPHB) to the effect that she was fit to do banking transactions.

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Taking into account the case being a senior citizen, the forum said, “It is pertinent to note that the two daughters had objected only to the withdrawal of her money but was never concerned about her personal well-being.”

With this reasoning, the forum said that that the bank’s failure to allow the complainant to withdraw money from her account amounted to deficiency in service and ordered that the senior citizen can withdraw money from her account after satisfying the rules and regulations of the Reserve Bank of India including a thumb impression and Aadhar card for the purpose of identification.

The forum further citied provisions from the Mental Health Care Act 2017 saying only a court can declare a person mentally unfit and that the bank was wrong in assuming the complainant was mentally ill.

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