Tuesday, June 27, 2017

RBI says banks have no liability for loss of valuables kept in their lockers

The lawyer who filed the RTI query demanded a probe under the Competition Act into the ‘cartelisation’ by banks.
The Scroll.in: Neew Delhi: Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
The Reserve Bank of India has said in response to a Right To Information query that public sector banks have no liability for theft of valuables kept in their lockers, reported PTI. Lawyer Kush Kalra, who sought the response under the RTI Act has now moved the Competition Commission of India, alleging “cartelisation” and “anti-competitive practices” by the banks.
According to the RTI reply accessed by the lawyer, the unanimous reason given by the RBI and 19 other PSU banks is that the relationship they have with customers with regard to lockers is that of “lessee [landlord] and lessor [tenant]”. The banks claim that because of such a relationship, the responsibility for the valuables falls on the depositor.
The other banks who replied to the query include Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, UCO and Canara Bank.
Some banks have made it clear in their locker hiring agreements that they bear no responsibility for the valuables and that the customer may insure them. According to a report by Financial Express, even private sector banks have the “no-responsibility” clause in their locker hiring agreements.
However, the lawyer said that if banks bear no liability for the customers’ valuables, the latter might merely keep the valuables at home and insure them instead of paying rent for the locker.
The lawyer alleged that all these banks, as well as State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank and others, have formed a “cartel” to indulge in such “anti-competitive” practices. He has demanded a probe under the Competition Act into this “cartel”