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In case of loss of Indira Vikas Patras, the money from post office cannot be claimed; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice U U Lalit & Justice Vineet Saran

The SC {THE SUPERINTENDENT OF POST OFFICE, BOLANGIR DIVISION, BOLANGIR, ODISHA v. JAMBU KUMAR JAIN } holds that the Indira Vikas Patras (‘IVP’, for short) in the present matter were purchased through cash. It was held, at no stage, the identity of the purchaser was thus disclosed or registered with the Department. In a situation, where the IVPs were purchased either through Cheque of Pay Order or Demand Draft, there would still be a possibility, through link evidence, to establish the identity of the purchaser but in case of a purchase through the modality of cash, there would be nothing on record which could establish the identity of the purchaser. It may be that there are no claims in respect of the IVPs in question but that does not mean that any person can claim maturity sum in respect of such IVPs and offer an indemnity. 

Further held, if the Department had refused to encash the Certificates upon presentation or even after encashment had refused to make the payment or had made short payment, there could still be a grievance about deficiency in service but if the Certificates themselves are lost and the identity of the initial holder could never be established through the record, the Department was well within its rights not to accept the prayer for return of the maturity sum.

It was further held that an IVP is akin to an ordinary currency note. It bears no name of the holder. Just as a lost currency note cannot be replaced, similarly the question of replacing a lost IVP does not arise. It was held that Rule 7(2) makes the position clear that a certificate lost, stolen, mutilated, defaced or destroyed beyond recognition will not be replaced by any post office. Similar is the position as regards the certificate which is either lost or stolen. Undisputedly there was no challenge to the legality of the rule 7(2). In the absence of a challenge to the provision, any direction should not really have been given. It was held that it is fundamental that no direction which is contrary to law can be given.

In the present case, complaint, being CDC No.43 of 2015 was filed by the respondent herein before the District Forum contending inter alia that 88 Indira Vikas Patras (‘IVP’, for short) of the denomination of Rs.5000/- each, purchased by the father of the complainant sometime during the period 1996 to 1998, were lost in the month of June 2001. A police complaint was lodged on 25.06.2001 alleging theft of those IVPs and thereafter by intimation dated 14.07.2001 a request was made to the Superintendent of Post Offices, Bolangir to stop payment of any amount upon maturity of the IVPs without proper verification of the holder. It was further submitted that despite demands made by the complainant, the value of the lost IVPs was not being made over by the Post Office to him and as such, there was deficiency in service on part of the Post Office. 

It was held by the SC that the District Forum and the National Commission completely erred in accepting the claim. The SC set-aside the view taken by the National Commission and dismissed the original complaint. 

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