Allegation over violation of RBI guidelines in banks
In almost all branches of the banks in Cooch Behar the customers are being denied to obtain a receipt against their deposits by cheques. If they ask for receipts they are being told that such facility was not available anymore. They are being asked to drop the cheques in the drop-box and keep the counterfoils of the pay-in slips as the receipts. Refusal to receive a cheque over the counter and giving a receipt as acknowledgement is nothing but an act of violation of the instructions issued by the Reserve Bank of India, said the secretary of the Cooch Behar Consumers Protection Society Mr Ganesh Chandra Bhattacharya.
Referring a circular (No. RBI/2006-2007/214 DBOD.No.Leg.BC. 49.09.07.005.2006-07) that was issued on 18 December 2006 by the chief general manager-in-charge of the RBI Mr Prashant Saran the CCPS secretary said the banks were advised to invariably display on the cheque drop-box that "customers can also tender the cheques at the counter and obtain acknowledgement on the pay-in-slips". "The message may be displayed in English, Hindi, and the concerned regional language of the state", the circular said.
Mr Bhattacharya said by that circular the banks were advised "both the drop-box facility and the facility for acknowledgement of the cheques at the regular collection counters should be available to customers and no branch should refuse to give an acknowledgement if the customer tenders the cheque at the counters".
In the circular it was also mentioned that "Reserve Bank of India/ Banking Ombudsmen have been receiving complaints that many bank branches are not accepting cheques at the counters and are compelling the customers to drop the cheques in the cheque drop-box. Banks are therefore advised to strictly adhere to the instructions contained in the circular and ensure that customers are not compelled to drop the cheques in the drop-box".
The CCPS secretary said by dropping a cheque into a drop-box a customer couldn't be sure of realisation of the money and deposit of the amount in his account. "We know a few cases where the customers had to suffer. Now, we are preparing to take up the issue to the RBI authorities for the benefit of bank customers", he said.
The members of the business community are also unhappy over the bank's attitude. The secretary of the district merchants chamber of commerce Mr Rajendra Kumar Baid alleged that a major section of bank personnel are interested in harassing the customers instead of extending them the justified service. They should obey the RBI instructions. The traders' body is also to take up the matter with the RBI authorities very soon, Mr Baid added. - DEBASHIS BHAUMIK