Real Estate : SBI Held Liable for Negligence
Leenata Dhamankar has successfully fought against the negligence of the mighty State Bank of India (SBI) in the safekeeping of her property title deeds. Ms Dhamankar had taken a housing loan in 2000 for purchasing two flats in a housing society in Chembur (Mumbai). The title documents were deposited with SBI as collateral security and had to be returned upon repayment of the loan. Considering the value of the flat, Ms Dhamankar was also sanctioned an education loan in 2003 against the same title documents.
 
After making all payments and clearing the entire loan amount, Ms Dhamankar sought release of the entrusted title documents. After considerable correspondence and several follow-up visits, the Bank gave her certified copies of the title deeds obtained from the sub-registrar’s office which were incomplete. In the absence of the title documents, Ms Dhamankar was unable to sell her flat and relocate to her native place. Aggrieved, she filed a complaint before the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (MSCDRC) seeking compensation for the harassment. She sought return of the original title deed or compensation of Rs93 lakh for the loss due to her inability to sell the flat.
 
The MSCDRC order held the Bank liable to pay compensation of Rs3 lakh, along with 12% interest from the date of filing the complaint till payment. Ms Dhamankar was also awarded Rs1 lakh for mental agony and harassment and Rs50,000 towards litigation cost. The Bank was directed to comply with the order within 45 days.
 

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Real Estate : Chandigarh Consumer Court Fines Builders
AChandigarh consumer court has asked real estate firm Unitech to pay a compensation of Rs1 lakh along with refund of Rs13 lakh for taking money in advance from a consumer, despite not having the requisite permission for a project. Unitech has also been asked to pay Rs10,000 as cost of litigation to the complainants. 
 
In another case, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed a real estate company, UK Homes, to pay Rs39.57 lakh to five people for not allotting plots to them in a housing project, after collecting the booking payment in the range of Rs3 lakh to Rs11 lakh from each of them. The Forum ordered the company to refund the amount of Rs37 lakh, Rs50,000 to each complainant for causing mental harassment, and Rs7,000 as cost of litigation.

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Online Payments : Service Charges on Digital Payments Withdrawn

The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to withdraw the surcharge/service charge or convenience fee on digital payments. The directive will apply to all kinds of digital payments like credit/debit cards, pre-paid cards, mobile payments or mobile wallet payments for any government service.Many retail stores and merchants charge an additional surcharge in case of non-cash payments. 

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