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.
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.
Please remember that a donor can donate money, wealth, property or any other thing which is his property that can be donated but the bank locker is not his property.
Hence the individual cannot donate the bank's property i.e., the locker to a trust to a third person.
He may donate the contents kept in the locker but he has to authorise the third party or trust with an authorisation letter or a general power of attorney deed to operate the bank locker.
If the bank locker is not operated for continuous and long period, then the bank can take action as per the guidelines of RBI.
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.
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.