Exams are always tough, even the Payment of Exam Fee is
Its August 24, 2013. I visited Indian Overseas Bank, Saidapet to deposit an Exam Fee towards University of Madras. I was told to stand in alternative queues, as if they (Bank employees) themselves are not sure, which counter is to pay the Exam Fee. After nearly 2 hours of wait, the bank staff advised me to pay the fee in some other branch, because of some server problem.
If its really server problem, they could have told earlier. Also, others are making money deposits. How come the server gets messed up so that only the Fee payment can’t be done. Also, If its really a server problem, how come someone pay in another branch. I doubt whether the Bank Staff is aware of the Fee payment procedure or not.
I then filed a Complaint in IOB Online redressal system… No response… Followed it up with Complaints to Chief Regional Manager & Principal Nodal Officer through mail; After which I was given response from Branch Manager that it is because of Server problem that the service is denied on that day. Unsatisfied with the genuinity of the response, I appealed to Chief Regional Manager against the resolution of Branch Manager vide Registered Letter.
Complaint closed without action due to lack of Evidence on our part
On October, The Chief Regional Manager closed the complaint stating the server movement was little slow, however all the customers’ requirement were met and he declared that there is no deficiency of service on the part of the branch.
The Cycle repeats itself
After around 6 months, in the month of April, I went to same branch to pay the exam fee again. This time I decided to videotape the series of events that are about to happen, since that would help me in our further efforts, if the service is not provided properly. This time I waited for an hour, approached different desks as suggested by the Bank Staffs, video taping with my mobile camera.
Barbaric Behaviour of Bank Staffs
Unfortunately, the Bank Peon saw me video-taping and there started a big hassle. Most of the Bank Staffs rounded me and a heated argument started, followed by the bank staffs physically harassing me, pushing me down by a staff wearing black shirt and gray stripes and very unfortunately I even got a punch in the face.
Though I couldn’t continue videotaping after they try to snatch the phone from the hand, I strongly believe the whole incident could got recorded in the CCTV cameras installed inside the bank. I applied a RTI Application to get the copies of videos that are recorded in the CCTV cameras. Then I also sent a complaint to Bank Manager regarding the same on April 25, 2014. I received an acknowledgement from the Branch Manager on April 30, but no action has been taken.
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Branch Manager & Assistant General Manager’s visit
The Bank Manager & Assistant General Manager visited me in home to compromise me on the issue and to close the complaints. They even accepted that I was physically harassed by the IOB staff, But told that they doesn’t know that I got punched by the IOB staff. I happened to record the whole conversation that I had with the Chief Manager and AGM. After the visit, I received a response from AGM that they assure they will provide the best service.
Since I was not satisfied with the response, I escalated the complaint to Banking Ombudsman via mail on April 30, 2014. And a detailed complaint with all necessary evidences, copy of older correspondences with the bank was sent on May 20, 2014 via Registered Post.
On June 25, 2014, Banking Ombudsman rejected our complaint for unreasonable grounds. So an appeal was made to the Appellate Authority (Deputy Governor) of Banking Ombudsman (copied to RBI Governor) on July 26, 2014. But the Appellate Authority rejected the appeal stating unjustifiable reasons. Due to the biased act of Banking Ombudsman (RBI), I made complaint to President of India, Ministry of Finance, Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation, Directorate of Public Grievance (Cabinet Secretariat) for exposing their illegitimate decision.
Complaint to National Human Rights Commission
I also made a complaint (904/22/13/2014) to National Human Rights Commission for physical and mental harassment. It directed the Ministry of Finance to take appropriate action within 8 weeks and give intimation about the same in a letter dated June 23, 2014. Meanwhile we also sent a complaint with more details via mail on June 18, 2014.
Eight weeks passed and no response from Ministry of Finance. Hence we escalated the issue to the highest authorities of India, The President of India, Ministry of Finance, Cabinet Secretariat among others. The same day we received reply from Economic Adviser II, Ministry of Finance, requesting us to forward the complaint to Deputy Secretary and Economic Adviser I and provided us their mail IDs. Then we forwarded the complaint to them also, but till (October 1) no response.
For all the pressure we created over Ministry of Finance, I finally received a response from them. They quoted totally unexpected response from the Chief Regional Manager. Quoting the words of response here: “There is no human right violation in the incident but also it is a matter of harassment by the complainant i.e. Mr. S. Alexraj to cover up his misbehavior in the Bank premises in that date.” The response from the Chief Regional Manager was that I was photographing the lady staff members of the bank. They are openly trying to frame me to cover up their wrong doing.
Enquiry from J1 Saidapet Police Station
J1 Police station received direction from Commissioner Officer via DGP office, but we are not sure from where the complaint was forwarded to DGP Office. The direction was to take action and submit `action taken` report. On Sep 23, 2014, I was called by Special Sub Inspector (SSI) to enquire on the issue. I then went to Police Station and elaborated the issue to SSI. We are yet(Oct 1, 2014) to hear from Police.
I filed a RTI with DGP Office to get the action taken report submitted by the J1 saidapet police station on 15 Oct, 2014. This RTI was then forwarded to Commissioner office on 27 Oct, 2014. The same RTI was then forwarded to J1 saidapet police station and the Inspector of Police, J1 police station made a historic response in the history of RTI. The response was …
To teach the Inspector a strong lesson, we filed a complaint with Deputy Commissioner of Police and Commissioner of Police to take action against the J1 Inspector.
Hearing in Central Information Commission
We followed up the RTI (to get Video footage) with First Appeal on May 30, 2014 and Second Appeal on July 10, 2014. Central Information Commission summoned for hearing on September 8, 2015. The hearing was okay and the Information Commissioner, Shri Sharat Sabharwal announced to provide us the CCTV Footage citing the following reason: He don’t believe that the release of CCTV Footage of the public area of the bank would compromise any of its operation, in any case activities in the public area of the bank are open to the eyes of all the persons visiting the bank, which he already cited in CIC/VS/A2013/000889/SH.
We were happy about the announcement of Information Commissioner and was eagerly waiting to see the CCTV footage to prove the guilty of Bank employees.
After Couple of days, on September 14, 2015, We received the order from CIC. Very unfortunately, it was mentioned in the order that the `CCTV Footage` need not to be given, which is in direct conflict with what the Information Commissioner announced. We are wondering if it is the Information Commissioner who drafted this conflicting order or any other authority under him, who drafted in this way without the awareness of the Information Commissioner.
In any case, we are intimating the conflict between Announcement and Order to the Information Commissioner through Email. And also, we are filing a review before CIC, on the order passed by the Information Commissioner.
PS: The exam, for which I went to pay the fee and the whole issue started, was cleared with good marks.
Link to Original RTI and Documents
Current Status: Waiting for Justice