InvestorQ : What does the latest Supreme Court ruling on bank lockers mean to banking customers?
Chandralekha Desai made post

What does the latest Supreme Court ruling on bank lockers mean to banking customers?

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NISHA Nayak answered.
3 months ago
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The extent of a bank’s accountability in the case of bank locker assets has been a bone of contention for a long time. Now the Supreme Court has said that banks cannot wash their hands off when it comes to assets in custody in lockers. SC has now directed the RBI to lay down regulations over the next 6 months on steps to be taken by banks with reference to locker facility management.

The Supreme Court bench observed that many people were hesitant to keep their liquid assets at home due to the government’s drive towards a cashless economy. Hence, it would behove on the banks and the RBI to ensure that lockers are made available by the banks where people can leave their assets and enjoy peace of mind.

According to the SC, there was the risk that electronically operated lockers could be misused by miscreants who could manipulate the technologies used in these systems to gain access to the lockers without the knowledge or the consent of the customer. Currently, the customer was completely at the mercy of the bank, which was not a very appropriate situation to be in. Hence banks cannot and must not wash their hands off a liability.

In this light, the Supreme Court has called upon the RBI to outline comprehensive directions and guidelines with respect to locker facility / safe deposit facility management by the banks under RBI regulation. The gist of the order is that banks should not have the liberty to impose unilateral charges or unfair terms and conditions on the consumers. RBI has also been asked to decide on the responsibility owed by banks for loss or damage to contents.

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