Navi Mumbai bank robbery: Valuables stored in lockers are customers’ responsibility
The locker hiring arrangement absolves state-owned lenders of all liability, according to an RTI response published in a PTI report.mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2017 11:22 IST
The 30 customers who lost their valuables in the heist in the locker room of the Sanpada branch of Bank of Baroda may not get any compensation. Reason: the locker hiring arrangement absolves state-owned lenders of all liability, according to an RTI response published by the Press Trust of India in its June 25 report.
The relationship of customers who avail locker services is that of a lessee (landlord) and lessor (tenant), the banks clarified in the report. A customer is responsible for his or her valuables kept in a locker which is owned by the bank, the report states, adding, some banks, in their agreements, make it clear that the valuables are stored at the customer’s risk and he or she may, in their own interest, insure them.
According to the PTI report, all locker hiring agreements have this clause: “The bank will not be responsible for any loss or damage of the contents kept in the safe deposit vault as a result of any act of war or civil disorder or theft or burglary and the contents will be kept by the hirer at his or her sole risk and responsibility.”
In response to the same RTI plea, the Reserve Bank of India clarified that it has not issued any specific direction in this regard or prescribed any parameters to assess the loss suffered by a customer. However, in some cases, consumer courts have ruled in favour of bank customers, who were able to prove there was deficiency in service by the bank.