New Delhi: The National Consumer Commission has asked the Reserve Bank of India to clarify its stand regarding the time taken by banks to clear outstation cheques to reduce losses for consumers due to such delays.
The Commission was hearing a petition alleging delays by banks in clearing cheques caused a loss of over Rs600 crore to consumers for every single-day.
“The RBI has produced on record a chart indicating that the banks take approximately 14 days for collection of cheques, even few banks take more than 14-days time,” the Commission bench comprising Justice M. B. Shah and member Rajyalakshmi Rao said.
The Bench, asking RBI to file an affidavit by 29 October, said “during this period the question arises with regard to giving credit to the amount to the person in whose favour the cheque is issued and to reduce or avoid delay in giving such credits what steps could be taken.”
Earlier, the RBI furnished a revised cheque collection policies, submitted to it by 35 banks, along with a chart clarifying that local cheques were cleared to the named persons as soon as the debit entry was made.
The RBI, which frames guidelines for all nationalised and private banks, was asked by the apex consumer commission to frame policies to minimise the losses caused to consumers by the banks in clearing local and outstation cheques.
During an earlier hearing, the RBI had informed the Commission that steps would be taken to ensure that cheques get cleared within 24 hours of their presentation.
The Commission noted that “perusal of the cheque collection policies reveal that while for the local cheques a time limit has been set out, for outstation cheques, many of the public sector banks have specifically put a maximum period of 14 days for collection of cheques.
The RBI, in an affidavit filed earlier, had said that it would take necessary action to ensure that delay in clearing cheques is minimised to a day.
A complaint was filed last year by one Atul Nanda against over 90 banks including the RBI alleging malpractice by the banks in clearing cheques.