J. Venkatesan

`Give credit as soon as a cheque is presented for local clearance'

NEW DELHI: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed 88 commercial banks, including foreign banks, to give credit as soon as a cheque is presented/deposited for local clearance with the bank.

The Commission said only a few banks had informed that in the case of local clearance, credit was given soon after a cheque was presented but the funds were not allowed to be withdrawn till the amount was received by the bank concerned. So there was no loss to the customer.

Hearing a complaint alleging delay in giving credit to cheques presented for clearance, a Bench of Chairman Justice M.B. Shah and member R. Rao said the practice should be implemented uniformly by all banks.

On behalf of the banks, it was submitted that they had formulated their own policy and were following the same. They said the data given by the complainant regarding the delay was incorrect.

The Bench said "prima facie, it appears that even though the banks have formulated their own policy with regard to float fund, credit is not given to the payee immediately and the interest thereon is also not paid and hence, the banks enjoy the said fund without paying any interest."

Considering this aspect, the Bench directed the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India to state on an affidavit as to what steps could be taken for minimising the loss to the consumers because of the floating fund. The Bench asked the RBI to explain whether the banks properly implemented the guidelines issued by it by framing reasonable policies in conformity with the guidelines.

Lawyers Atul Nanda and Rameeza Hakeen alleged that the banks in the country were earning nearly Rs 621 crore interest every day due to delay in crediting cheques sent for clearance. The matter will come up for further hearing on December 5.