New Delhi: A Delhi consumer forum has imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on Corporation Bank for misplacing an account payee cheque worth Rs 45,220 of ICICI Bank, which was found to have cleared it as bearer cheque to a wrong person despite several changes made on it.

For its "deficient service" and being "negligent", ICICI Bank has been asked by the consumer forum to refund the sum of Rs 45,220 to the right person.

While imposing the fine on Corporation Bank and asking the ICICI bank to reimburse the amount to the person to whom the cheque was actually issued, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held both the banks guilty of rendering "deficient service."

"In our opinion ICICI Bank was also grossly negligent in clearing the cheque of the complainant (Dinesh Kumar). We direct ICICI Bank to reimburse the amount of Rs 45,220 to the complainant," the bench presided over by Bimla Makin said.

The forum imposed a cost of Rs 15,000 on Corporation Bank saying misplacing of the cheque by it resulted in its misuse.

"We impose a cost of Rs 15,000 against Corporation Bank for misplacing the cheque from its custody," the forum said.

The order came on a plea by one Dinesh Kumar who alleged that he had deposited with Corporation Bank an ICICI Bank cheque of Rs 45,220, issued in his favour by his friend on September 14, 2009, but the same was misplaced by the bank.

He said later on, he came to know that the ICICI Bank had cleared the cheque later despite having several alterations on it, without informing his friend who had issued it.

During the arguments, Corporation Bank contended it had informed Kumar that the cheque was not traceable and had requested him to stop its payment.

It also contended that the deficiency was on the part of ICICI Bank as they cleared the cheque in contravention of the banking norms as it was having material alterations on it which was visible from naked eye.

The forum, which proceeded ex-parte against ICICI Bank as it did not contest the plea, said that it was the duty of the bank to take proper safeguards while clearing the cheque.

"It was the duty of ICICI Bank to take proper safeguards, like asking for identity proof of the person getting the cheque encashed, when there were so many visible cutting and marks on the cheque and the account payee cheque was converted into open bearer cheque," it said.

Referring to the banking norms, the forum observed that ICICI Bank should have informed the person, who had issued the cheque, before clearing it as it was having visible alterations.