If you are using a bank locker, the regulations from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) requires you to operate it at least once a year or else your bank can open it.
However, if you fall in a lower risk category as per the bank’s classification, the bank can give you more time.
Those who fall in the medium risk category, the bank will send a notice only if the locker remains un-operated for more than three years as per RBI regulations.
Banks classify its customers in different risk categories from low to high depending on various parameters such as financial or social status, nature of business activity, location of customers and their clients. Banks are required to carry out proper due diligence before allotting a locker to a person. However, there is a proper procedure that the bank needs to follow before opening the locker.
The bank is required to send you a notice advising you to either operate the locker or surrender it.
It is required to ask for a written response from you about the reasons behind not operating the locker. If the reasons mentioned are genuine, that is, if you are a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) or you were not in the city due to transferable job or any other genuine reason, then the bank can allow you to continue with the locker facility.
If you fail to provide a proper explanation, the bank can cancel your allotment and allocate it to someone else even if you have been paying rent regularly but the haven’t operated the account in the prescribed time limit.
Every bank is required to inform the customer about this clause. This is supposed to be the part of the agreement that you get when you hire a locker facility.
Your bank may ask you to operate the locker more frequently. For example, Bank of Baroda advises its customers to operate the locker at least once in six months but if it remains unattended for one year, the bank can open it.
Banks need to consult legal advisors before opening bank locker. “Banks need to draw up a procedure in consultation with their legal advisers for breaking open the lockers and taking stock of inventory,” says the RBI regulations.