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Sibsankar Datta (Freelance)     06 October 2015

Releasing of contents of locker to legal heirs.

Whether Banks can open the sealed/closed packets found in locker while releasing them to the legal heirs/mandated legal heirs?


 15 Replies

Kumar Doab (FIN)     06 October 2015

You have not posted full details of the matter.

You may go thru ; RBI: 'Master Circular on Customer Services' ; Clause;19,20 and onwards.

In certain cases Bank prepare list of inventory.

1 Like


NO one gives a dman to RBI ciruclar and neither to banking standardscouncil guidelines.

Banks have their own policy circulars.

To open locker of decased they may ask for latter of administration from court though it is not needed

If the items in locker are not referred in court order bank need not open the pakcets.

1 Like

Kumar Doab (FIN)     06 October 2015

RBI is central bank and its guidelines have stautory force.

The Bank prepare its internal policies in line with RBI guidelines and has to maintain its and RBI guidelines on its website and in Branch and has to supply rinted version/certified copy without any cost to customer/claimant.

Bank and banker can be penalized in case of violation.

If you are harassed record (audio/visual/witnessed/minuted) and repoert to circle office/Chairman of the bank, vigilance cell of the bank, (obtain details from website of the bank)



governor RBI;




RBI's Dept of banking Supervision, Dept of Customer protection (obtain list from RBI website:




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G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     07 October 2015

Once the Bank permits legal heirs as per norms, they are not supposed to intervene into the contents including sealed cover.

They are not supposed to meddle into personal matters.  Once they followed guidelines in permitting locker operation as per RBI guidelines to legal heir, their responsibility comes to an end, and they are not even supposed to be present when locker is being operated.

1 Like

SIVARAMAPRASAD KAPPAGANTU (Retired Manager)     07 October 2015

Please note that the matter is dealt in two ways. 1. Where the Legal Heir/s is having locker key with them/him/her. 2. Where the Legal Heirs is not having locker key with them/him/her. In the first case, after ther claim is settled as per the norms of the Bank, the Legal Heir/s shall be requested to call on the bank with the key to remove the contents In the second case, after the claim is settled, the locker is broke open in the presence of the Legal Heirs and two independent witnesses. The contents are listed duly countersigned by Legal Heirs and Witnesses and the contents are handed over to the Legal Heirs. In the instant case what excactly is the scenariou is not known. You may be guided by the above clarification.
1 Like

Sibsankar Datta (Freelance)     08 October 2015

Thanks for valuable responses. I am narrating further details on the matter, seeking specific guidance needed.

Once the Bank permits legal heirs/mandated heir as per their own norms, without any order of Court regarding the items in locker, whether Bank needs the services of a certified jeweler, for preparing the list  of inventory in their stipulated Annexure 7a, which do not contain any column for valuation of items.  

Whether Banks can open the sealed/closed packets found in locker while releasing them to the legal heirs/mandated legal heir? Whether the Bank can decline the request of legal heirs for allotment of the locker for hiring by the legal heirs of the deceased.

I believe that, as the settlement is as per the Bank’s norms and not against court  order, understand that the Bank cannot open the sealed/closed packets found in locker while releasing them to the legal heirs/mandated legal heir and also the Bank do not need  the services of a certified jeweler, as the settlement is not against any order of Court.

Seek guidance on any violation of statutory guidelines in terms of the Model Operational Procedure for Return of Articles in Safe Deposit Lockers/ Safe Custody to the legal heirs/mandated heir. How should the matter of violation, if any, should be dealt with.

G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     08 October 2015

As far as the Bank is concerned, they are entitled to open the locker and hand over possssion.  It is upto the legal heirs to bring Panchayats take all belongings in the locker and get them valued or opened.

I have so far never heard bank demanding to know contents of such locker, when the legal heir was legally permitted to close the locker.

If you are still interested, file RTI application to the bank,  seeking information for  certified extract of guidelines prescribed in their Manuals or RBI directives on precautions while settling locker claims.  Then you will be coming to know exact rules position.  This may take at the most one or two days.


Lettrof administration is required where owner has diesd without a will.

As far as Banking standrds council rules are concerned, the bank has to only ensure that the heir to locker is properly identifies.Then locker is allowed to be opened.


Many banks inlcuding SBI are harassing heirs. 


In our case we filed division suit betwen brothesr and got decree which contcaied clear orders that 2 of us named in orer will go and open locker. But the bank refused to followorder even when they wereparty in the hearings.

They insited to get separate LOA for them.

This is nothing but pure high hndedness, corruption and arbitrary fucntioning.

K.S.Srinivas (Advisor (HR))     12 October 2015

Agreed with Sri G.L.N.Prasad.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     12 October 2015

The bank has to follow the RBI Guidelines and where there is a vaccum and  bank is formulate its policy the policy is approved by board and banker is to follow the policy.

In case there is any reason Banker/BM seeks legal opinion from its legal cell and follow it.


The RTI route if required can be pursued thru Bank or RBI.

If bank/banker  is violated norms,guidelines,policies................................even if it claims it has obtained legal opinion, it can be pulled to court of law.



Mr. Sibsankar Datta,


Yours are purely academic queries not warranting any advice in the absence of descriptttion of your own problem, if you really have any.


If it is your own case in reality, better discuss your own problem and explain, how the bank authorities reacted to your application and whether you are declared merely as a legal heir or could get succession certificate in your favour. Otherwise, there is no use of discussion any academic query.



Dear Shri G.L.N. Prasad,


For the purpose of bank locker articles, there is a vast difference between the terms of "legal heirs" and a successor holding succession certificate. The bank is not obliged to hand over any article out of the locker of the deceased to any of the legal heirs unless some one is a nominee of the deceased or have obtained a valid succession certificate.


The query is of academic nature and the querist has not discussed any legal problem, to which he is concerned directly. Even in his descripttion of the academic questin, he has simply mentioned about "legal heirs," neither a nominee nor a successor holding succession certificate.


So, his query is quite irrelevant to be dicussed merely on varied presumptions by the members.



Dhingrasir, I read the guidelines in various situations prepared by Baning standrads councilof India. But these are not being followed by banks .My direct experience is with SBI.

The guideliens simplylay down that in case of locker ownr expired, the bank manager has to verify identioty of the heir appearing to operate locker and then allow it.

But banks refuse. They insiston gettign LOA.

In my case despite a court decree in division suit and clear cut order of judge in which SBIN was also made a party, itwas ordered thatwe two named persons will operate the locker and dispise off otherproperty.

Despite all this bank refused to allowoperation and even banking ombudsman Jaipur took their side. They are insisting on LOA

Kindly throw light on this legal issue while we areon this topic.


Kumar Doab (FIN)     28 December 2015

The bank can not violate RBI guidelines.

RBI guidelines are narrated in Master Circular.

If bank has violated guidelines and order by court then contmept of court may stare at it.


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