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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

what you do when your Bank balance swells !!

When we make a mistake – most officials would denounce – but when officials make one, it is called ‘Technical glitch’ .. .. “Never aspire for anything not due to you – is a very sound advice given by my elders at home” !

For sure, you have a Bank Account and today being the start of the month – could have a fat balance !! – how many times would your Bank account touch 6 figures ! – and what will you do, when your Bank balance swells ??

‘Naan ready – Neenga Readiya ?” – was the poser to audience by Sarathkumar….. some  years ago !  Do you remember the show “Koteeswaran” featuring the actor in Sun TV on the lines of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepathi’ ?  Koteeswaran is common name – a Hindu name after Lord Easwar; one denoting unlimited riches.  ‘koti’ is crore and the one named so is blessed to possess crores of values… way back in 1955 there was a Sivaji Ganesan / Padmini  / S Balachandar / Ragini starrer ‘Koteeswaran’  produced by Sri Ganesh Movietone with background score by G Ramanathan.  The story revolving around the fight of two friends was based on BV Warekar’s  Marathi play ‘ Haach Mulacha Baap’.

Koteeswaran was a much hyped game show, a regional Quiz on the lines of KBC – sponsored by Hindustan Lever…   in those days the advt rates for KBC  were stated to be  around Rs 3.5 lakh for 10 seconds.  Koteeswaran never succeeded the way KBC did – the poor Tamil viewers were thus denied opportunity of becoming richer unlike their counterparts from cow belt.  There was another attempt - `Koteeswari',  initially intended to be a game show, a precursor of jackpot, hosted by Kushbu.  The prize money was a lowly lakh of rupees.

There can be windfalls ! – and if you are lucky, money could come chasing ! .. .. newspaper reports suggest that - HDFC customers were left baffled on Sunday morning after they received a message showing an inflated balance in their bank accounts. A huge sum of money was deposited into accounts of several people while 100 accounts linked to the T Nagar branch reported the issue. Some accounts were even credited with an amount as huge as Rs 13 crore.

The incident came to light after a customer informed Chennai Police fearing that his bank account had been hacked. Police then contacted branch officials who explained that messages were sent erroneously while a software patch was being processed which mixed the debit and credit updates.  Some customers took to Twitter and shared screenshots of the inflated balance. “Even my HDFC Bank account showed 2.49 crore yesterday morning,” a user tweeted. Another user tweeted that the balance in his wife’s account increased by 1.23 crore on Sunday morning and at noon the balance vanished.



The initial report suggested that all 100 accounts were credited with Rs 13 crore each, but an official from HDFC confirmed that the amount credited to all accounts was not the same.  He further  clarified that the issue occurred because of a technical glitch during a software patch and no hacking had taken place. Further, the accounts were blocked to fix the issue.  When asked about what problems customers may have to face while filing IT returns, officials assured that a solution would be provided.

Q :  What would do you if you were to receive such a wrong credit and thus an inflated balance in your Bank Account ?

Some would be tempted to withdraw the money and use and repay when a demand is raised !  Way bank in 2004  Andhra Bank decided on a similar case involving Indian Bank and Mocro Electronics .. .. 

Indian Bank, Main Branch, Hyderabad, filed a case seeking  Rs.6,82,360/- with future interest @ 23% per annum from the date of suit till the date of realization with costs.  In Jan 1997 Indian Bank Rajahmundry Branch made a telegraphic transfer to a  firm by name Rekha Corporation.  However due to oversight and by mistake the amount was credited.  In July 1997,  Rekha Corporation informed the plaintiff that an amount of Rs. 5,60,000/- which was transferred from Indian Bank, Rajahmundry was not credited to its account.  The Bank upon verification of transactions found that  Rs.5,60,000/- which ought to have been credited to the account of M/s. Rekha Corporation was wrongly credited to the account of the 1st  defendant due to oversight. The amount which was wrongly credited to the account of the 1st defendant was unauthorisedly, illegally withdrawn – which the plaint stated as  nothing but playing fraud on the Bank and was unjust enrichment.

The Bank contacted the Account holder requesting them to pay back the amount wrongly credited.  The account holder admitting that the money was not theirs and wrongly credited to their account made a part payment of Rs.50000/-  in Aug 1997 but despite remainders, did not pay up the balance.  The Bank filed a criminal complaint   for cheating and misappropriation of funds.  The wrongful credit and part repayment are not in dispute – the Bank alongside repayment sought interest also.    This relief was negatived by the trial Court on the ground that there was no evidence on the part of the Bank too whether Bank paid any interest on Rs. 5,60,000/- to M/s. Rekha Corporation, the rightful beneficiary.

Chief Manager of the Bank deposed before the Court that an amount of Rs.560000/- through telegraphic transfer was wrongly credited to account no. 2017 instead of 3017 of Rekha Corporation.   The defendants too admitted that they withdrew the money on various dates and paid back Rs.50000/- on 4.8.1997.  A  finding had been recorded by the trial Court that inasmuch as the respondents/defendants only had operated their account and there was negligence on the part of the Bank staff in making the wrong crediting of the amount, the respondents/defendants cannot be found fault and in view of the fact that Rs. 50,000/- prior to the filing of the suit and Rs. 5,10,000/- subsequent to the filing of the suit had been paid to the Bank, no further relief need be granted to favour of the appellant/Bank.

Section 72 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 dealing with Liability of person to whom money is paid, or thing delivered by mistake or under coercion, specifies: "A person to whom money has been paid, or anything delivered, by mistake or under coercion, must repay or return it." The object of Section 72 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 is to prevent unjust enrichment and this principle is based on the doctrine of equitable restitution.  

The trial Court no doubt negatived the relief mainly on the ground that the conduct of the staff of the Bank is blameworthy.  The High Court held that – Bank is   entitled to recover interest at 6% per annum on Rs. 5,10,000/- from the date of institution of the suit till the date of repayment of the amount made by the respondents/defendants during the pendency of the suit.

Well, after reading this – you may be tempted to checking your Bank account immediately !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st June 2022. 

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