MUMBAI, India — The Reserve Bank of India, the central bank and regulatory body, on Aug. 18 issued revised instructions for all banks regarding locker management following orders of the Supreme Court of India.

The Reserve Bank of India said banks are advised to frame their board-approved policy/operational guidelines in this regard, taking into account the revised instructions.

“The revised instructions will come into force with effect from Jan. 1, 2022 (except where otherwise specified) and be applicable to both new and existing safe deposit lockers and the safe custody of articles facility with the banks,” Reserve Bank of India said in its notification.

“To facilitate customers making informed choices, banks should maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a waitlist in the core banking system or any other computerized system compliant with cybersecurity framework issued by Reserve Bank of India for the purpose of allotment of lockers and ensure transparency in allotment of lockers.”

The central bank said the banks should acknowledge the receipt of all applications for allotment of the locker and provide a waitlist number to the customers if the lockers are not available for allotment.

“In order to facilitate customers making informed choices, banks shall maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a waitlist in Core Banking System (CBS) or any other computerized system compliant with Cybersecurity Framework issued by RBI (Reserve Bank of India), for the purpose of allotment of lockers and ensure transparency in allotment of lockers,” said Thomas Mathew, Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India.

“The banks shall acknowledge the receipt of all applications for allotment of the locker and provide a waitlist number to the customers if the lockers are not available for allotment.”

In February, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Mohan M. Shatanagoudar and Vineet Saran asked the Reserve Bank of India to frame uniform rules for all banks regarding locker management within six months.

Breaking open a locker without following the legal procedure will be construed as gross negligence on the bank’s part.

The top court had said that banks should not have the liberty to impose unilateral and unfair terms on consumers.

The Reserve Bank of India may also issue applicable rules for responsibility owed by banks for any loss or damage to the contents of lockers for the sake of clarity.

“It appears to us that the present regulations are inadequate and muddled. Each bank is following its own set of procedures,” the court had said.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari



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