Published on: 25 September 2023 at 17:44 IST
The Gauhati High Court has ruled that a customer who falls victim to cyber-crime and experiences unauthorised and fraudulent transactions in their bank account has no liability for such transactions.
The Court ordered the reversal of the disputed amount in the petitioner’s savings bank account.
Justice Kalyan Rai Surana, presiding over a Single Judge Bench, emphasized that the bank must adhere to the explicit terms and conditions when issuing ATM cards.
The judgment concluded that the petitioner was a victim of cyber-crime, and the respondents failed to demonstrate that SMS alerts were issued to the petitioner for the disputed transactions.
The case involved a petitioner who claimed that an ATM-cum-Debit Card was issued to him by an SBI branch without e-commerce facility. It was alleged that although e-commerce facilities were subsequently provided to the petitioner through a 16-digit ATM-cum-Debit Card, he was not informed or provided with the CVV number.
The petitioner argued that without the CVV, e-commerce or online transactions could not be conducted using the ATM-cum-Debit Card. During a short period between May 08, 2012, and May 17, 2012, an amount of Rs. 4,44,699.17 was fraudulently withdrawn from his account through illegal online transactions without any SMS alerts being received. After the petitioner filed complaints with the bank and the CID, a case was registered.
The petitioner sought an inquiry into why SMS alerts were not received and the refund of the fraudulently withdrawn amount.
The Court found that the 19-digit ATM-cum-debit card was indeed equipped with e-commerce facilities. It further noted that the CID’s investigation traced the origin of the crime to Thane District of Maharashtra, but the suspect’s name and address were found to be fake.
The Court observed that there was no scope to verify the truthfulness of the petitioner’s claim regarding SMS alerts, making it difficult to trace the accused. Additionally, the respondents failed to produce records showing that SMS alerts for the alleged fraudulent transactions were generated and sent from their computer system.
Consequently, the High Court directed the respondents to deposit the sum of Rs. 4,44,699.17 in the petitioner’s bank account and granted them the liberty to recover the amount from the individuals to whose accounts the money was transferred.
Case Title: Jyoti Bezbarua Goswami and Ors. v. State of Assam and Ors.