SC directs RBI to frame guidelines for bank locker system to be more effective
The Supreme Court has ruled that the RBI shall lay down comprehensive direction mandating steps to be followed by banks regarding locker facility and safe deposit facility management.
The RBI need to issue suitable rules on the responsibility owned by banks for any loss or damage to contents of the locker so that the controversy on the issue is clarified as well.
The issue came to light when an officer of the United Bank of India opened the locker of a person named Amitabh Dasgupta on the ground that he has not paid locker rent. However, he voiced his grievance when the bank clarified it was inadvertently opened and the bank management tendered an apology. The person approached the Consumers forum and at last it reached the Supreme Court.
To decide the issue of compensation, the SC observed that there had been dereliction of duty on the part of the bank officer in opening the locker without due care and caution and violating the RBI guidelines, which amounts to serious lapse in the service of the bank. Such a situation should not have happened. And the apology tendered by the bank is out of place.
Looking into the facts and circumstances of the case, the SC felt it appropriate to impose a fine of Rs 5 lakhs on the bank that has to be paid to Amitabh Dasgupta as compensation. The amount shall be deducted from the salary of the erring officer. Since the officer has retired from service, the amount shall be paid by the bank management.
The court said that the bank is under obligation to ensure proper procedures for locker systems. That is why there is a direction to the RBI to make the locker system fool proof and most effective.