The consumer court has directed Kerala State Financial Enterprise (KSFE) Ltd., a government-owned non-banking financial company, to pay Rs.50,000 to a woman for “clear deficiency of service and unfair trade practice” by “withholding” chitty amount due to her. It also directed the KSFE to pay a “compensation” of Rs.10,000 and another Rs.1,000 as costs.

The case deals with a petition filed in November 2009 by Ashina Shajir, a resident of Bilathikulam here, who won a bid of Rs.5 lakh as chitty conducted by the West Hill branch of the KSFE.

She had joined the chitty the same year to settle the gold loans that she had taken from the branch and she also wanted to use the money to meet other financial exigencies.

When the security for the chitty was demanded, she had given the title deeds of her property in Eengapuzha village in Kozhikode taluk.

However, alarm bells started ringing when “several” months lapsed without a word from the KSFE. Neither was the prize amount released by them in her name.

When contacted, the KSFE claimed that their legal advisor had not cleared her title or ownership over the property offered as security.

Arguing her case before a bench of the Kozhikode Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum led by its president G. Yadunadhan, she said she did not “believe” the public sector company’s version. She contended that the person from whom she had purchased the property, which was offered as security, had earlier taken a loan on the strength of the very documents from a reputed bank.

‘No adverse remarks’

Moreover, she told the court that the Mercantile Cooperative Bank, Calicut, had granted her loan on the security of the very same title documents without any adverse remarks.

“The opposite party (KSFE) deliberately refused to accept the security with a view to prolonging the disbursal of money to her,” the forum recounted in its final orders on June 21.

Alleging that the KSFE was “withholding” the money due to her, she said she suffered great mental agony and inconvenience and financial loss due to deficient service. She also sought a “modest” compensation of Rs.1 lakh.

Countering her, the KSFE appeared through its lawyers to claim that her plea was “absolutely false.” They said she had failed to submit proper security for the release of the prize amount.

On her claim that another bank had granted loan on the same title deeds, KSFE said “security norms are different for different financial institutions.”

Passing final orders in the case, the court observed that of the total three properties submitted as security, two were found to provide ample cover for the chitty of Rs.5 lakh.

Besides, the court noted that the KSFE had “not produced any documents to show that the legal opinion was against the complainant (Ashina Shajir) for disbursing the amount.”

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