Axis Bank is trying to defend its mistake by casting aspersions on a noted sports personality, chess grandmaster R.B.Ramesh told IANS here.
"A sportsperson will not be able to compete in the international area and bring laurels to the country if he/she is not mentally tough," he said.
"The in-born personality trait will always get reflected in a person's game and not vice versa. Any sports champion is really mentally tough. But getting panicky in a difficult situation is different. When a rabid dog is about to bite a person, his first instinct will be to run and that does not mean he is not mentally tough," Ramesh added.
Pallikal has sued Axis Bank for humiliation and loss of reputation after her debit card transaction did not go through at a Rotterdam hotel in 2011 despite she having sufficient balance in her account.
On learning about it, players from other countries made some remarks about her creditworthiness and also about India.
Fortunately Pallikal had a DCB Bank debit card and paid the hotel with that.
Soon after that incident, the Axis Bank did not credit Pallikal's account with the Rs.100,000 cheque she had deposited.
It returned the cheque to her with remark "not drawn on us".
The cheque was issued by the Indian government for her achievement in the sporting arena and making the country proud.
After a lot of communication, Axis Bank finally credited the amount, saying the instrument was returned due to technical error.
Upset at the callous attitude of Axis Bank, Pallikal filed a case in the consumer court here in 2012.
In its affidavit filed in the court, Axis Bank said: "The very fact that the complainant is not able to take the slightest disturbance would prove that she lacks the requisite mental toughness of a world champion."
It attributed the debit card transaction failure to an act of god.
Disputing the bank's contention, psychological counselor Brinda Jayaraman told IANS: "In my view, the girl is very much resilient. She has the mental toughness to use another bank's card. There is nothing wrong for a young girl who is in a foreign country to call her mother and talk about a problem and get advice."
Commenting on the probable impact that Axis Bank might face because of the case, Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO of Brand Comm, a brand consulting company, told IANS over phone: "The biggest challenge will be due to the social media. Hundreds of people will post their experience about Axis Bank and also with the other banks. It will have a ripple effect on the reputation of bank(s)."
He wondered how Axis Bank headed by a woman (Shikha Sharma) could treat an accomplished sports personality and a young girl like this.
"Axis Bank seems to have no idea as to what its customer is going through. It could have turned the adverse situation into a positive one but failed. The affidavit smacks of arrogance," Sridhar remarked.
Echoing him, S.Sujatha, a former Tamil Nadu women's chess champion, told IANS: "How can a bank say that Pallikal lacks mental toughness? She had the alertness to use DCB Bank's debit card. A person's basic characteristic will always get reflected in the game."
"It is a debit card and it should work. It is ridiculous for the bank to term its customer as lacking mental toughness," S.Saroja, coordinator, Citizen, Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG), told IANS.
Meanwhile Axis Bank in a statement said: "The matter under reference is presently being heard by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (CDRF) in Chennai, following a suit filed against the Bank by Ms Pallikal.
"As the matter is sub-judice, the Bank would not be able to comment on specifics relating to the case. However, we may mention that the issue relates to one failed debit card transaction at an overseas merchant location."
--IANS (Posted on 02-09-2013)