Chennai: Arjuna awardee squash champion Dipika Pallikal on Monday won her long-drawn legal match against Axis Bank in a consumer court here. Holding Axis Bank responsible for deficient service, the consumer court ordered the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 500,000 to Pallikal as well as Rs 5,000 towards costs.
Pallikal had sued Axis Bank for humiliation and loss of reputation after her debit card transaction did not go through at a Rotterdam hotel in 2011 despite she having sufficient balance in her account.
On learning about it, players from other countries made some remarks about her creditworthiness and also about India. Pallikal, however, had another card - that of DCB Bank - and paid the hotel with that.
Soon after the incident, Axis Bank did not credit Pallikal's account with the Rs 100,000 cheque she had deposited and returned the cheque to her with remark "not drawn on us".
The cheque was given by the Indian government for her achievement in the sporting arena and making the country proud. After a lot of communication, Axis Bank finally credited the amount, saying the instrument was returned due to technical error.
Upset at the callous attitude of Axis Bank, Pallikal filed a case in the consumer court here in 2012. Refusing to take blame, the bank, in its affidavit filed in the court, said: "The very fact that the complainant is not able to take the slightest disturbance would prove that she lacks the requisite mental toughness of a world champion."
It attributed the debit card transaction failure to an act of god. Reacting to the consumer court's award, Pallikal in a statement said: "This is a victory for the consumers of India. It reaffirms our faith in consumer courts. It will motivate other consumers who are wronged by service providers to stand up and fight for justice. A big thank you to all those who stood by me."
"We are very happy with the verdict. We are awaiting the certified copy of the order. Service providers like banks cannot leave their customers in the lurch, wash their hands off and hide behind disclaimers like force majeure. What's worse, after their deficiency in service, the bank's snide remarks on my client's mental strength were insensitive and constituted a double whammy," said her lawyer Sanjay Pinto.