Supreme Court of India
Induslnd Bank Limited vs Simarjit Singh on 3 February, 2022Author: Sanjiv Khanna
Bench: Sanjiv Khanna, Hon’Ble Ms. Trivedi
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 784 OF 2022
INDUSIND BANK LIMITED AND ANOTHER ….. APPELLANTS
SIMARJIT SINGH ….. RESPONDENT
SANJIV KHANNA, J.
In July 2006, the respondent-complainant, Simarjit Singh had
availed a loan of Rs. 13,50,000/- from the appellant, IndusInd Bank
Limited for financing a truck. The loan was repayable in equal
monthly instalments of Rs. 35,150/-. The respondent committed
default in payment of three instalments due in October 2007,
November 2007 and February 2008. Consequently, the Bank had
issued demand notice dated 12th March 2008 for payment of Rs.
1,39,335/-. Thereupon, it is accepted, the respondent had paid Rs.
1,04,200/- on 24th March 2008, Rs. 35,150/- on 6th May 2008 and
Rs. 36,000/- on 31st May 2008. Accordingly, Rs. 8,19,300/- was
paid by 31st May 2008, while as per the instalment schedule, the
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respondent was required to pay only Rs. 8,08,000/- up to June
2. Despite the respondent not being in arrears, the truck of the
respondent with loaded cargo of timber, going from Gandhi Dham,
Gujarat to Srinagar was stopped near village Bhasaur by about 10-
12 persons on 3rd July 2008. They then forcibly took physical
possession of the truck and the timber.
3. Thereupon, the respondent preferred Consumer Complaint No. 344
of 2008 alleging deficiency in service before the District Consumer
Disputes Redressal Forum, Sangrur, which was dismissed vide
order dated 04th December 2008. Thereafter, Appeal No. 11 of 2009
before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission,
Punjab1 was treated/converted into original complaint bearing
Special Consumer Complaint No. 344 of 2008, which complaint
was allowed vide order dated 26th October 2018, with the following
“i) to pay Rs 10,80,000/- being the value of the truck, in
question, as on the date of repossession, along with
interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of
repossession of the vehicle, in question i.e. 05.07.2008
ii) to pay Rs 20,00,000/- being the value of the timber
loaded in the truck, in question, to the complainant,
1 Hereinafter referred to as ‘SCDRC’.
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along with interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the
date of repossession of the vehicle, in question i.e.
05.07.2008 till realization;
(iii) to pay compensation at the rate of Rs 3,000/- per
month for the loss of livelihood suffered by the
complainant for want of plying the truck, in question, for
all these years, along with interest at the rate of 9% per
annum from the date of repossession i.e. 05.07.2008 till
(iv) to pay Rs 40,000/- as litigation expenses.”
4. The appellant Bank and its Chairman moved Revision Petition
bearing No. 187 of 2019 before the National Consumer Disputes
Redressal Commission,2 which has been dismissed vide the order
dated 20th July 2021, now assailed before us.
5. The Bank had taken the stand before the SCDRC and the NCDRC
that the respondent had voluntarily surrendered the truck. The foras
for good reasons have rejected this plea. It was evident that the
respondent had deposited Rs. 4,69,323/- as margin money and had
already paid more amount than required under the payment
schedule. The assertion of the Bank that the respondent had taken
another loan of Rs. 8,77,000/- vide Loan Account No. JL 004701H
and had defaulted in payment of the instalments therein was held
2 Hereinafter referred as ‘NCDRC’.
Civil Appeal No. 784 of 2022 Page 3 of 8
to be inconsequential for the present case as the two transactions
were unrelated and different.
6. This Court, while issuing notice vide order dated 17th September
2021, has recorded that the document(s) relied on by the Bank
evidencing alleged surrender of the truck by the respondent was
held to be fabricated by the SCDRC. This being a finding of fact,
would not be interfered by this Court at this stage. The notice was
limited to the direction assessing Rs. 20,00,000 as the value of the
timber loaded on the truck.
7. The orders dated 26th October 2018 of the SCDRC and 20th July
2021 of the NCDRC are silent on the value of timber and have
merely gone by the figure mentioned by the respondent in the
complaint. The respondent did not enclose and rely upon any
document to support the valuation of timber and the claim for Rs.
8. The respondent’s stand before us is that the documents relating to
the valuation of the consignment were in the truck itself. Even if this
is to be accepted, the respondent could have placed on record
some documents or confirmation from the consignor or the
consignee to show the value of the timber. It was stated before us
that the truck union, of which the respondent was a member, had
Civil Appeal No. 784 of 2022 Page 4 of 8
settled the matter with the consignor/consignee. However, these
papers were also not placed on record.
9. On the question of value of the timber, the appellant Bank has
gleaned our attention to Annexures P/12 to P/18. These
documents, it is stated, are related to the consignment in question:
the consignment note dated 26th June 2008 issued by New Bikaner
Punjab Haryana Roadlines showing the value of timber (P/12);
retail invoice issued by M/s. Green Gold Timbers Private Limited in
favour of Fayaz Timber Traders, Srinagar (P/13); surrender letter
dated 07th July 2008 executed by the respondent in favour of the
Bank (P/14); letter dated 23rd July 2008 from New Bikaner Punjab
Haryana Road Lines, Gandhi Dham, stating that the timber in truck
No. PB 13Q 8731 had been shifted and loaded on another truck by
their representative Mr. Balwant Singh (P/15); transit slip dated 30th
June 2008 issued by Excise and Taxation Department, Punjab
(P/16); confirmation by Fayaz Timber Traders that they had
received imported timber from Green Gold Timber Private Limited
sent vide G.R. No. 793 dated 26th June 2008 issued by New Bikaner
Punjab Haryana Road Lines, Gandhi Dham (P/17); and letter dated
24th January 2019 of Green Gold Timbers Private Limited
confirming having received payment for the timber from Fayaz
Timber Traders (P/18). Relying on these documents, the appellants
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have highlighted that the value of the timber loaded in the truck was
Rs. 4,13,710/- and it was delivered to the consignee.
10. It appears that the above documents were neither filed before the
SCDRC nor the NCDRC. Usually, we would not have taken these
documents on record, albeit we are inclined to pass an order of
remit to the SCDRC as we find that neither of the Commissions
examined and went into the question of valuation of the
consignment. The orders of the SCDRC and the NCDRC to this
extent are flawed.
11. In view of the foregoing discussion, we partly allow the present
appeal and set aside the impugned order insofar as it affirms that
the Bank is to pay Rs. 20,00,000/- as the cost/value of the timber
along with interest @ 9% per annum, with an order of remit to the
SCDRC to examine this issue afresh without being influenced by its
earlier order, including the order passed by the NCDRC. The
appellants and the respondent would be permitted to file additional
documents regarding delivery to the consignee and the valuation of
the consignment, including the documents filed by the Bank before
us. The parties would be asked to lead evidence through affidavits.
However, we clarify that we have not interfered with the direction
requiring the appellants to pay Rs. 10,80,000/- being the truck’s
Civil Appeal No. 784 of 2022 Page 6 of 8
value along with interest @ 9% per annum from 5th July 2008 till
realisation, compensation @ Rs. 3,000/- per month for the loss of
livelihood along with interest @ 9% per annum from 5th July 2008
till realisation and Rs. 40,000/- as litigation expenses.
12. It is stated that the Bank had already deposited Rs. 28,34,496/-
before the SCDRC. The amount to the extent we have upheld the
order of the NCDRC would be paid to the respondent. In case there
is any discrepancy or short payment, it will be open to the
respondent to question the computation made by the Bank. We
would also like to clarify that compensation granted @ Rs. 3,000/-
per month for loss of livelihood from 5th July 2008 would be payable
for the period up to 31st October 2018, along with interest @ 9% per
annum from 5th July 2008 up till realisation/payment was made. The
compensation @ Rs. 3,000/- per month would not be payable post
the decision of the SCDRC on 26th October 2018. We have rounded
the date to 31st October, 2018.
13. To cut short any delay, parties are directed to appear before the
SCDRC along with their affidavits by way of evidence enclosing
therewith necessary documents on 21st March 2022. On the said
date, the SCDRC would fix the date for consideration of evidence
and, if required and necessary, cross-examination may be directed.
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As the case is fairly old, it would be appropriate if the proceedings
are concluded within six months from the first date of hearing.
14. There will be no order as to costs.
(DR. D.Y. CHANDRACHUD)
FEBRUARY 03, 2022.
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