A consumer forum here has asked the postal department to pay Rs 3 lakh to a couple for opening their joint account under the Public Provident Fund Scheme.
Forum president Umesh Jhavalikar and member N D Kadam in their order stated that the Department of Posts had not apprised the complainants about the PPF regulations and permitted them to open a joint account, and since the last 13 years did not make any effort to rectify the mistake.
The department also refused payment of interest to the complainant on their investment of Rs 3,37,300 and this amounts to deficiency in services, the forum observed.
The complainants, Satish Shankar Sable and his wife Sunita, residents of Kansai section of Ambernath, told the forum in their complainant that on January 6, 1996, they opened a joint PPF account with the post office and in the next 12 years, up to 2008, deposited Rs 3,37,300 into it.
In May 2009, they went to deposit an additional amount into the PPF account but the postal authorities refused to accept it stating that as per the PPF regulations the account cannot be a joint one, they said in the complaint.
They were also informed that the account will not carry any interest as it is treated as an invalid account. The authorities also informed them that the balance in the account can be paid only after completion of 15-year period.
The Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum, in its order issued last week, took exception to the casual attitude of the postal department in dealing with such operations and asked the department to pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to the couple within a period of 60 days from the date of the order, else pay an additional Rs 50,000 till the amount is realised.
It also ordered the department to complete all the formalities of closure of the account within the next 30 days and refund the principal amount invested in the fund, else pay another Rs 50,000 till the same is complied with.