Kerala HC comes to rescue of TVM housemaid who was denied interest for post office deposit

Kerala High Court | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The Kerala High Court came to the rescue of a Thiruvananthapuram native, whose money was held by post-office authorities over deposit renewal policy. The court asked the post-office authorities to dispense the amount deposited by the woman, including its full interest. Justice PV Kunhikrishnan passed the directives and imposed a fine on the ‘authorities who lecture red tape rules’ after denying the interest for the woman.

The court remarked that small savings of poor people are not meant for buying a BMW or to build an edifice or for a luxurious life; instead, it’s for fulfilling their small dreams.

The court was considering a writ petition filed by Saroja, a 54-year-old domestic worker from Thiruvananthapuram’s Nedumangad. It was in 2012, that Saroja deposited Rs 20,000 with Muttada post office for two years.

Being an illiterate person, she was unaware that the deposit had to be renewed after the validity expires. The post-office authorities too did not communicate with her about this. She thought that she will get the interest until she withdraws the deposit.

However, in 2021, when she approached the post office for withdrawing the deposit, she was informed by the authorities that she will only get Rs 1712, the two years’ interest and the principal amount. Though she raised an appeal with the authorities to provide the interest for the period until the date of withdrawal, the administration rejected it.

Following that she approached the High Court. Post-office cited post-office bank manual and contended that interest can be only issued if it is renewed. While, the petitioner’s counsel pointed out that in the amendment brought to the post-office deposit rules in the year 2014, the former is eligible to get the interest for the period until the date of withdrawal.

As a counter, the post-office authorities contended that the amendment was applicable to the post-offices in which Core Banking Solution (CBS) mechanism in place. They pointed out that the post office in which the woman deposited the money had not had that mechanism. Meanwhile, the court rejected that contestation and said internal affairs of the operation should not affect the poor depositor.

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