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Private bank penalised for leaking confidential information

Panjim: The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, North Goa has slapped a penalty on a private bank for leaking confidential financial information of its account holder to a ‘third party’ without her consent.

Flora Nikira Belle Strain Meyers had approached the Forum seeking justice after her savings bank account details were shared with her estranged husband without her authority. The petitioner represented by Advocate Winnie Coutinho alleged that the release of confidential information without her knowledge, authority and consent was an act of ‘carelessness, negligence and irresponsibility on the part of the bank.’

“It will cause reduction in quantum of relief granted to the complainant in her divorce/maintenance proceedings and will directly affect the amount of maintenance and alimony drastically,” Countinho stated adding that Flora’s husband, with whom the divorce proceedings are underway, deviously/clandestinely obtained the statement of account from one of the official of the bank’s branch at Porvorim.

The Forum, while delivering the judgement on September 21 slammed the bank for its callousness and remiss in the discharge of its duties. “This is a case of sheer callousness on the part of the bank and terrible remiss in the discharge of its duties. Banking system is based on trust and faith,” the bench comprising of President S Vales and members Varsha Bale and A De Oliveira observed.

Expressing its displeasure over the ‘malpractice and condemnable action of the bank,’ the Forum asked the bank to pay Rs 50,000 for “mental tension, hardship and inconvenience suffered by the complainant besides costs, which compensation we find, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, would not only serve the purpose of recompensing the complaint but also would bring about qualitative change in the attitude of the service provider (bank).”

The order further stated, “The bank is directed to pay to the complainant total compensation of Rs 50,000 for committing deficiency in service and for the pain and suffering that she had to undergo on account of negligent acts… The bank is also directed to pay Rs 25,000 as cost of this litigation within one month of the order.” [H]

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