New Delhi. The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Reserve Bank of India to make regulations within 6 months regarding the locker facility management in banks. The court clearly said that banks cannot turn away their customers from the bank locker service. The bench of Justice MM Shantanagoudar and Justice Vineet Saran said that with globalization, the role of banking institutions has become important in the lives of common people. The apex court said that people are reluctant to keep cash, jewelry etc. on the houses, as we are slowly moving towards cashless economy. Therefore, the locker provided by banks has become an essential service. This type of services can be availed by citizens as well as foreign citizens. Although there is an option for an electronically operated locker, but those who mess it up can put a dent.
Also, if people are not technically knowledgeable then operation of such locker is also difficult for them. The bench said that the customers are completely dependent on the bank, which is a very capable party to protect their assets. In such a situation, banks cannot turn their back on this matter and claim that they do not have any obligation to their customers to operate the locker. This kind of action by banks is not only a violation of the relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, but also damages the confidence of investors and our credibility as an emerging economy.
The court said, “It is necessary that the RBI brings a comprehensive direction, which mandates what steps banks should take in the context of the locker.” Banks should not have the freedom to impose unilateral and unfair conditions on customers. In view of this, we instruct the RBI to make suitable regulations in this context within 6 months of this order.