The Hurt Locker

Unfortunately, there is no substantive domestic legislation or sector­-specific regulations which may throw light upon the issue of whether banks are responsible for loss of articles placed inside the locker. This requires factual findings on knowledge of the contents of the locker; or whether the locker holder had prepared any receipt or inventory of the articles placed inside the locker or was otherwise able to prove the particulars of the items deposited in the locker. This aspect must be evaluated by appreciation of evidence.

There has not been any authoritative pronouncement from Supreme Court on the issue of whether banks are responsible as bailees, or in any other capacity, for any loss or damage to the contents of the lockers.

It is left open to the RBI to issue suitable rules with respect to the responsibility owed by banks for any loss or damage to the contents of the lockers.

Hon’ble Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, Amitabha Dasgupta v. United Bank of India, [Civil Appeal No. 3966 of 2010].

The Hurt Locker