It is the first week of November 2014, Meera, a School teacher of Kendriya Vidyalaya in Bangalore, was eagerly waiting for her monthly salary, as usual. Meera being the sole earning member of her family, her monthly salary is the highlights of the month for all her family members at home. The long awaited salary was finally credited to her SBI account, and she promptly receives an SMS confirming of the same. She quickly goes to her SBI ATM, that is just next to her SBI Bank, to withdraw all her salary of Rs.20,000. She inserts her SBI ATM card, types in her PIN and waits to receive her monthly money at the ATM Kiosk. But strangely, after a few minutes the monitor flashes, "YOUR TRANSACTION IS COMPLETED" – to the utter surprise of Meera still waiting for her money for this month.
Meera is very disappointed and quite confused, that the amount has been deducted from her account, without her receiving the amount and with no money in her hands. Interestingly, she also gets a confirmation slip that is mechanically printed out by the ATM machine of her amount deducted from her savings account. To confirm that the ATM machine is in order and working properly, Meera does a subsequent transaction for a small amount, right away at the same ATM. To her great surprise this time, she received the few rupees from the ATM transaction and also a confirmation receipt promptly.
Immediately, Meera contacts the SBI Bank Manager at the branch there. Without batting an eyelid, the manager blatantly says, "Someone else would have taken your money, Meera!". As a last resort for Meera then, she goes to the nearest police station and tried to file a complaint. However, to add to Meera's pitiful plight, the Police officer at the station does not entertain her and refuses to register her complaint.
Now, what can Meera do to reclaim her lost salary of this month - Rs. 20,000?
Will an RTI application help Meera in her case?
Yes, it will!
Meera has to first file a complaint to the State Bank of India, Branch Ombudsman, where she has an account. Simultaneously, to help expedite resolution of her case, Meera should also file an FIR or register a complaint if they refuse to file her FIR. She can then file two RTI applications to follow up on her case:
- The first RTI application can be filed to her SBI Bank Branch to get the status, including the designated officer dealing with the complaint, and all the action(s) taken by the bank on the complaint.
- Another RTI application can be filed to the Police Station to get the status, designated officer(s), all the actions taken to date, and ask for copies of all related reports with regard to the FIR.
No, it will not.
However, an RTI application cannot direct the SBI Bank to get Meera's problem resolved and refund her money lost to the ATM. We can only ask for material information available, but can not get into initiating an investigation or ask for reasons or resolutions.
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Charanya Gajendran, RE Support Executive, BA LL.B
Renjit is an IT professinal currently engaged in creating digital media content for online applications. He has over 16 years of multimedia and graphics experience. Cartooning, photography, and animation are his hobbies.
Renjit's cartoons: https://www.facebook.com/rtoonsbyrenjit
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