Pune: A clerical error by a bank was enough to ruin the aspirations of catering student Tushar Navale, who had secured an internship in the UK for a seat in hotel management. Under a mandatory clause for those seeking visa to work abroad as freshers, a minimum balance of Rs 1 lakh has to be maintained in the given bank account for a period of three months. However, the bank authorities at the State Bank of India’s Pimpri branch reduced Rs 30,000 from his account due to a clerical error, bringing his balance below Rs 1 lakh. This resulted in rejection of his visa, and subsequent cancellation of his internship.
An irate Navale eventually approached the consumer forum, after which the bank has been directed to pay a compensation of Rs1 lakh and an additional Rs2,000 as suit charges.
Ahmednagar-based Navale, who had been pursuing a degree in hotel management and catering from D Y Patil College, had moved his plaint before the forum against the SBI on January 23, 2013.
In 2012, Navale had applied for job opportunities abroad, and accordingly he bagged an internship offer from a UK-based company on a temporary worker -creative and sporting visa (TIER 5), which is essentially meant for freshers. The application was valid till April 2013, and he was offered £12,647 per year along with lodging and other facilities.
The mandatory clause to secure a visa was to maintain £900 pounds (approximately Rs1 lakh) in his saving bank account for 90 days. Accordingly, between March 20 and March 26, 2012, Navale deposited the required amount in his account. On June 11, he was shocked to see a withdrawal of Rs30,000 from his account. Navale approached the bank, where he was told that it was a clerical mistake at their end, and the said amount was deposited back into his account after four months.
In his plaint, Navale prayed that the bank must pay Rs 19 lakh as compensation, including the cost he incurred for procurement of visa and other charges.
The bank has filed a written statement before the forum disagreeing on the compensation amount awarded to Navale. The bank claimed, “The error happened due to a difference in the digit of bank account. As soon as the mistake came to light in June, the process of transferring the amount had started immediately, and the entire process completed in October. As the amount has been deposited by the bank there is no deficiency in service.”
Forum president Anjali Deshmukh and member S K Pacharne observed, “It is not the question of bank negligence or purposeful act. The fact is that Navale missed a big opportunity, which he earned as a fresher and due to human error, he had to pay with his job. Navale was not required to inform the bank that his deposit was meant for his UK plans, and also the bank have no such norms. And it is not the responsibility of the account holder to secure his account. The responsibility lies with the bank. Due to the bank’s mistake Navale’s future has been ruined, and there is a need to compensate on it.”