Bank can’t freeze one’s Accounts on employer’s request

New Delhi, Apr 3 (PTI) A bank cannot freeze the accounts of an employee on the request of the employer and become a judge of dispute between them, a consumer forum here has said while holding IDBI Bank Ltd guilty of deficiency for doing so.

CMD IDBI Bank M S Raghavan
CMD IDBI Bank M S Raghavan

A bench of New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, presided by C K Chaturevdi, made the observation while asking IDBI Bank Ltd to pay Rs 20,000 to Delhi resident Om Prakash Sharma, noting that his account was freezed from December 23 to 27, 2010, on his employer’s request and without any intimation to him.

“In our considered view, the bank cannot become a judge of dispute between the employer and employee and freeze the account of employee on the request of employer. Such a right belongs to Court or police on investigation can resort to such a request,” the forum said, adding the bank did a “negligence act” in freezing Sharma’s account.

It asked the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 for deficiency and litigation charges while holding the bank “guilty of gross deficiency”.

Sharma had told the forum that he had some dispute with his employer and was given a cheque of Rs 59,000 towards settlement of dues.

However, Sharma said that he came to know through RTI that his employer had written to his bank to put a debit freeze on his account, alleging that complainant had stolen the said signed cheque and filled in figures and got the money transferred in his account.

In its order, the forum also noted that the employer had not lodged any FIR with police about the theft of cheque by complainant.