March 27, 2017



It has been reported that banks in Delhi are refusing to accept new currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 that have either scribbles or ink-marks on them or have been “mutilated” in any way. This move is in contravention of the Reserve Bank's “Clean Note Policy.”

According to the Policy, “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has informed that the object of ‘Clean Note Policy’ is withdrawal of soiled and mutilated notes from circulation and putting adequate quantity of fresh notes into circulation. RBI has appealed to the members of public on July 16, 2015 not to inscribe anything on bank notes as it damages the notes and will not allow common man to identify features of genuine notes.”

Notably, according to the Master Circular of the RBI dated July 1, 2015, it is a bank’s duty to exchange mutilated notes. This Circular states that “All branches of banks in all parts of the country should provide the following customer services more actively and vigorously to the members of public so that there is no need for them to approach the RBI Regional Offices for this purpose:...(ii) Exchanging soiled / mutilated / defective notes…”

Reportedly, in this regard, Alpana Killawala, RBI’s spokesperson, said, “The RBI does follow the clean note policy, but that does not mean that the banks can reject a currency note which has an ink mark or scribbles on it. It is very much legal tender and the banks should accept such notes.”

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