Hi sir – There is an issue of forged home loan for which the bank manager is also responsible. I have filed a consumer case against the bank and the main applicant. How much compensation can I claim? In the consumer case? I have claimed 10 Lakhs but now I feel that it’s a bit low considering the lawyer fees and travel expenses. Can the amount be increased in the same complaint(petition) or do I need to file another case?
There is no hard and fast rule about the compensation amount. It depends on the facts of each case and, in fact, there is some amount of discretion exercised by the forum even where the facts in two cases may be similar. It is ultimately up to you (in consultation with your advocate who has drafted and filed the consumer complaint) to compute how much compensation should be prayed for in your consumer complaint. However, please keep in mind that as per Section 14(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, compensation is awarded to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered by him due to the negligence of the opposite party, therefore, the compensation that you ask should be based on a reasonable estimate of the loss or injury suffered by you due to such negligence of the opposite party. At the same time, the Consumer forum has the power to grant punitive damages in such circumstances as it deems fit, but for that you’ll have to make out a case for such punitive damages by showing the extraordinary circumstances for seeking the same.
Please also keep in mind that the consumer forum also has the power to return to the complainant the price, or, as the case may be, the charges paid by the complainant, and also to discontinue the unfair trade practice or not to repeat them. The compensation may be in addition to these powers of the consumer forum. Therefore, you should try to make prayer for compensation by keeping these aspects in mind.
As regards the lawyer’s fee and travel expenses, etc., that is generally sought in the form of costs and not as compensation. But, the costs which are generally directed to be paid in India are comparatively much less than the actual amount spent by you.
If you want to amend your consumer complaint for seeking more compensation, it should be possible with the permission of the consumer forum. So, in consultation with your advocate, you can file an application with justification for seeking permission to amend the complaint. A new complaint cannot be filed and need not be filed for the same cause of action.
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